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Antibiotic may reduce endometriosis lesions, Japanese researchers say

Fusobacterium (white dots) is seen near the uterus (endometrium) of endometriosis patients. Photo by Professor Yutaka Kondo
Fusobacterium (white dots) is seen near the uterus (endometrium) of endometriosis patients. Photo by Professor Yutaka Kondo

June 14 (UPI) -- Japanese researchers said in a new study that an antibiotic used for Fusobacterium can be taken to reduce lesions associated with endometriosis.

The results of the research from a group connected with the Nagoya University's Graduate School of Medicine and iGCORE were published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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The study's authors suggest that the findings could lead to new treatments for the formation of lesions associated with endometriosis.

The lesions are a gynecological disorder characterized by endometrial tissue usually found inside the uterus being found outside it.

One in 10 women ages 15 to 49 suffers from endometriosis, a disorder that can cause lifelong health problems, including pelvic pain and infertility.

While it can be treated using hormone therapy and surgical resection, those procedures sometimes can lead to serious side effects, and recurrence, along with having a significant impact on pregnancy.

The research group, in collaboration with the National Cancer Center, discovered that the uterus of mice infected with Fusobacterium had more and heavier lesions. The mice, however, that had been given an antibiotic to eradicate Fusobacterium saw improved lesion formation.

Fusobacterium are generally treated in the United States with so-called beta-lamtam antibiotics, which include penicillin and cephalosporin.

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"In this study, we demonstrated that the Fusobacterium-TAGLN-endometriosis axis is frequently dysregulated in endometriosis," said Professor Yutaka Kondo, who led the study.

"Our data provide a strong and novel rationale for targeting Fusobacterium as a non-hormonal antibiotic-based treatment for endometriosis."

Researchers said their probe found that a protein called transgelin, or TAGLN, was often upregulated in patients with endometriosis. The protein is associated with the development of endometriosis.

"Eradication of this bacterium by the antibiotic treatment could be an approach to treat endometriosis for women who are positive for fusobacteria infection, and such women could be easily identified by vaginal swab or uterus swab," Kondo said.

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