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Endometriosis is a common chronic inflammatory condition causing pelvic pain and infertility in women, with limited treatment options and 50% heritability. We leveraged genetic analyses in two species with spontaneous endometriosis, humans and the rhesus macaque, to uncover treatment targets. We sequenced DNA from 32 human families contributing to a genetic linkage signal on chromosome 7p13-15 and observed significant overrepresentation of predicted deleterious low-frequency coding variants in NPSR1, the gene encoding neuropeptide S receptor 1, in cases (predominantly stage III/IV) versus controls (P = 7.8 × 10-4). Significant linkage to the region orthologous to human 7p13-15 was replicated in a pedigree of 849 rhesus macaques (P = 0.0095). Targeted association analyses in 3194 surgically confirmed, unrelated cases and 7060 controls revealed that a common insertion/deletion variant, rs142885915, was significantly associated with stage III/IV endometriosis (P = 5.2 × 10-5; odds ratio, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.39). Immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR, and flow cytometry experiments demonstrated that NPSR1 was expressed in glandular epithelium from eutopic and ectopic endometrium, and on monocytes in peritoneal fluid. The NPSR1 inhibitor SHA 68R blocked NPSR1-mediated signaling, proinflammatory TNF-α release, and monocyte chemotaxis in vitro (P < 0.01), and led to a significant reduction of inflammatory cell infiltrate and abdominal pain (P < 0.05) in a mouse model of peritoneal inflammation as well as in a mouse model of endometriosis. We conclude that the NPSR1/NPS system is a genetically validated, nonhormonal target for the treatment of endometriosis with likely increased relevance to stage III/IV disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Sci Transl Med

Publication Date





Animals, Endometriosis, Endometrium, Female, Humans, Macaca mulatta, Mice, Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha