Prof. Whasun Lim Discovers Endometriosis Suppression Efficacy of Melatonin
Prof. Whasun Lim’s research team (Department of Biological Sciences) disclosed a result showing that melatonin can cause mitochondrial dysfunction in endometriosis lesions and disease cell lines and specifically inhibit cell proliferation by regulating tiRNA expression.
This research, in which Prof. Lim participated as a corresponding author, was conducted in cooperation with Prof. Gwonhwa Song’s research team (Korea University), Prof. Sunwoo Park’s research team (Gyeongsang National University), and Prof. Hee Seung Kim’s research team (Seoul National University). The research result was published online in the international expert journal in endocrinology, brain sciences, physiology field, Journal of Pineal Research (IF: 12.081, JCR field Top 3.09%), on November 18th.
Endometriosis is a disease that occurs in about 15% of childbearing-age women, in which endometrium tissues grow abnormally on the ovary, oviduct, and peritoneum, ensuing not only atypical genital bleeding but also infertility. Surgeries and hormone therapies are being conducted to cure the disease, but recurrent rates are high and long-term injections are impossible.
Melatonin not only controls biological rhythm but is also known to have various physiological activities such as antioxidation and anti-inflammatory. Thus, the research team certified an endometriosis mouse model and confirmed a decrease in the lesion size of the disease according to the treatment of melatonin. Moreover, using endometriosis epithelial cell lines and substrate cells separated and cultivated from the patient tissue, it was confirmed that melatonin inhibits proliferation, induces apoptosis, and decreases ATP synthesis through mitochondrial membrane potential and oxidative phosphorylation changes.
Recently, transport RNA fragments (tRF/tiRNAs), a type of small non-coding RNA in living organisms, have been found to have various biological functions such as RNA interference. The research team demonstrated that tiRNAGluCTC and tiRNAAspGTC were associated with the proliferation of endometriosis in the lesion of mouse endometriosis originating from a patient and it was confirmed to suppress the expression of those two tiRNAs according to the treatment of melatonin.
The result of this study identified a new efficacy and mechanism to suppress the development of melatonin endometriosis lesions and showed the possibility of new usage as therapeutic material for endometriosis patients.
This research was supported by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the National Research Foundation of Korea's Mid-sized Research and Young Researcher Support Project, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare's Korea Health Industry Promotion Agency's Public Medical Technology Research Project.
※ Paper Title: Melatonin inhibits endometriosis development by disrupting mitochondrial function and regulating tiRNAs
※ Journal: Journal of Pineal Research
※ DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jpi.12842
▲ Mechanisms of melatonin inhibiting the development of endometriosis lesions