Endometriosis is a painful inflammatory disorder affecting ~10% of women of reproductive age. Although chronic pelvic pain (CPP) remains the main symptom of endometriosis patients, adequate treatments for CPP are lacking. Animal models that recapitulate the features and symptoms experienced by women with endometriosis are essential for investigating the etiology of endometriosis, as well as developing new treatments. In this study, we used an autologous mouse model of endometriosis to examine a combination of disease features and symptoms including: a 10 week time course of endometriotic lesion development; the chronic inflammatory environment and development of neuroangiogenesis within lesions; sensory hypersensitivity and altered pain responses to vaginal, colon, bladder, and skin stimulation in conscious animals; and spontaneous animal behavior. We found significant increases in lesion size from week 6 posttransplant. Lesions displayed endometrial glands, stroma, and underwent neuroangiogenesis. Additionally, peritoneal fluid of mice with endometriosis contained known inflammatory mediators and angiogenic factors. Compared to Sham, mice with endometriosis displayed: enhanced sensitivity to pain evoked by (i) vaginal and (ii) colorectal distension, (iii) altered bladder function and increased sensitivity to cutaneous (iv) thermal and (v) mechanical stimuli. The development of endometriosis had no effect on spontaneous behavior. This study describes a comprehensive characterization of a mouse model of endometriosis, recapitulating the clinical features and symptoms experienced by women with endometriosis. Moreover, it delivers the groundwork to investigate the etiology of endometriosis and provides a platform for the development of therapeutical interventions to manage endometriosis-associated CPP.
- bladder dysfunction
- colonic hypersensitivity
- cutaneous mechanical and thermal hypersensitivity
- endometriotic lesions
- vaginal hypersensitivity