Inflammatory disorders account for a significant percentage of gynecologic disease, particularly in reproductive age women. Inflammation is a basic method by which we respond to infection, irritation, or injury. Inflammation is now recognized as a type of nonspecific immune response, either acute or chronic. In gynecology, inflammation leads to anatomic disorders primarily as a result of infectious disease; however inflammation can affect ovulation and hormone production as well as be associated with endometriosis. Similarly, immune cell trafficking is an important component of cyclic endometrial development in each menstrual cycle. These immune cells are required for endometrial function, producing a vast array of inflammatory cytokines. Inflammation alters endometrial receptivity, however it may also play a role in tissue repair and remodeling. Finally, inflammation affects the trophoblast and trophoblast-endometrial interaction. Some components of the immune response are required for optimal fertility and normal tissue remodeling. A better understanding of the necessary role of inflammation in reproduction will allow more rational and targeted treatment of inflammatory disorders in reproductive medicine.
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