Endometriosis is a prevalent disease characterized by the estrogen-dependent ectopic growth of endometrial tissue. Most of the current medical therapies consist in inducing a hypoestrogenic state in patients, but these treatments are associated with severe side effects and high recurrence rates. The development of convenient and reliable endometriosis animal models would be instrumental to accelerate the emergence of new therapeutic alternatives. Recently, we developed an improved experimental model for endometriosis, relying on the infection of human endometrial fragments by an adenovirus carrying the green fluorescent protein. Following injection of fluorescent fragments into nude mice, the implantation and growth of endometriotic-like lesions could be followed noninvasively. In the present work, we demonstrate that this model can be used to quantify the size of fluorescent endometriotic lesions by in vivo imaging. To this end, we repeatedly measured lesion size over a 4-week period in mice supplemented or not with estradiol. The model was adequate to confirm previous results showing that estrogen is dispensable for the implantation phase of endometrial tissue, whereas it is required for lesion maintenance. As a proof of concept for inducing regression of established lesions, ganciclovir was used to treat animals implanted with human fluorescent endometrial fragments expressing thymidine kinase. A significant decrease in lesion size was observed by in vivo imaging in ganciclovir-treated mice. Together, the data indicate that the noninvasive animal model described here provides a tool for drug testing and/or gene target validation in endometriosis. Copyright © The American Society of Gene Therapy.
Fortin, M., Lépine, M., Merlen, Y., Thibeault, I., Rancourt, C., Gosselin, D., … Steff, A. M. (2004). Quantitative assessment of human endometriotic tissue maintenance and regression in a noninvasive mouse model of endometriosis. Molecular Therapy, 9(4), 540–547. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymthe.2003.12.012