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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 20, 2018

IL-37 affects the occurrence and development of endometriosis by regulating the biological behavior of endometrial stromal cells through multiple signaling pathways

Jianfa Jiang, Kenan Yu, Zhaoying Jiang and Min Xue
From the journal Biological Chemistry


Endometriosis (EMs) is a chronic inflammatory condition. Interleukin (IL)-37 is a member of the IL-1 family and an anti-inflammatory cytokine. This study aimed to evaluate the possible role of IL-37 in the EMs pathogenesis. We investigated the in vivo effect of IL-37 on EMs by injection with recombinant human IL-37 (rhIL-37) into EMs mice. Furthermore, we evaluated the in vitro effects of IL-37 on proliferation, adhesion, migration and invasiveness of endometrial stromal cells (ESCs), and explored whether Wnt/β-catenin and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways were involved in this process. In cultured ESCs, IL-37 overexpression significantly suppressed both protein and mRNA expression of the inflammation-associated cytokines, including IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α). Furthermore, IL-37 overexpression significantly inhibited ESCs proliferation, adhesion, migration, invasion and the activity of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9. In contrast, knockdown of IL-37 exerted the opposite effects. Importantly, the IL-37-mediated action in ESCs was through inactivation of Wnt/β-catenin, p38 MAPK, extracellular signal-related kinases MAPK and c-Jun N-terminal kinase MAPK pathways. Moreover, EMs mice treated with rhIL-37 showed the decreased endometriotic-like lesion size and lesion weight, lower expression of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-I (ICAM-I) and MMP-2/9 activity in peritoneal fluid compared with the wide type (WT) EMs mice. These findings suggest that IL-37 suppresses cell proliferation, adhesion, migration and invasion of human ESCs through multiple signaling pathways, thereby affecting the occurrence and development of EMs.


The present study was supported by the New Xiangya Talent Project of The Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University (Grant No. JY201706).

  1. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Received: 2018-05-16
Accepted: 2018-06-13
Published Online: 2018-06-20
Published in Print: 2018-10-25

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