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The vitamin D receptor (VDR) and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) are two nuclear receptors that exert their effects by binding with ligands and forming a molecular complex. These complexes translocate to the nucleus and activate the expression of a series of genes which have a response element to VDR or AHR. Both receptors have been identified in the pathogenesis of endometriosis, a common disease characterized by the formation of endometrium-like tissue in ectopic zones. Despite numerous therapies, there is no definitive cure for endometriosis at the pharmacological level. Our study aims to describe the location and the expression of VDR and AHR at the protein level. For this purpose, an evaluation was performed using tissue from the three normal phases of the endometrium (proliferative, early, and late secretory) and in endometriosis by immunohistochemistry, using anti-VDR and anti-AHR antibodies. We demonstrate that in the nuclei of glandular cells in endometriosis, the expression of VDR and AHR is mutually exclusive-when the expression of one receptor is high, the other one is low-suggesting a possible target in the treatment of endometriosis. We also identify a significant change in the expression of glandular cytoplasmic AHR between the proliferative and late secretory endometrium. © 2021. The Author(s).


Francesco De Pascali, Livio Casarini, Christina Kuhn, Manuela Simoni, Sven Mahner, Udo Jeschke, Viktoria von Schönfeldt. Nuclear expression of VDR and AHR is mutually exclusive in glandular cells in endometriosis. Histochemistry and cell biology. 2021 Oct;156(4):391-399

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PMID: 34155552

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