Endometriosis, a common disorder affecting women of reproductive age, is characterized by ectopic growth of the endometrial tissues, altered steroid hormone response, and inflammation. Previous studies revealed that statins, selective inhibitors of the key step of mevalonate pathway, inhibit growth of endometrial stromal cells in vitro and reduce endometriotic lesions in murine models of endometriosis. This study evaluated the effects of simvastatin on the development of endometriosis in a baboon model of this disease. Sixteen baboons were randomly assigned to the treatment group (simvastatin, 20 mg daily) or to the control group. Endometriotic lesions were evaluated by laparoscopy after 3 months. The volume of red, orange-red, and white endometriotic lesions was significantly reduced by 78% in animals treated with simvastatin. The expression of a marker of proliferation, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), was significantly reduced in animals receiving simvastatin in red lesions, white lesions, black lesions, and in adhesions. Simvastatin was also associated with an increase in the expression of estrogen receptor alpha in red lesions, and a decrease in the expression of estrogen receptor beta in black lesions, in adhesions, and in eutopic endometrium. Furthermore, simvastatin significantly reduced the expression of neopterin, amarker of inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune system activation. Collectively, the present findings indicate that the inhibition of the mevalonate pathway by simvastatin reduces the risk of developing endometriosis in the primatemodel of this disease by decreasing the growth of endometrial lesions, by modulating the expression of genes encoding for estrogen receptors, and by reducing inflammation.
In the baboon model of endometriosis, simvastatin reduced the volume of active lesions, altered gene expression. and reduced the serum level of neopterin, amarker of immune system activation in the baboon model of endometriosis.