Dysregulation of the immune system in endometriotic milieus has been considered to play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of endometriosis. Macrophage recruitment and nerve fiber infiltration are the two major characteristics of this aberrant immune environment. First, the recruitment of macrophages and their polarization phenotype within the endometriotic lesion have been demonstrated to facilitate the development and maintenance of endometriosis. M1 phenotype of macrophages has the capacity to secrete multiple cytokines for inflammatory response, while M2 macrophage possesses an opposite property that can mediate the process of immunosuppression and neuroangiogenesis. Upon secretion of multiple abnormal signal molecules by the endometriotic lesion, macrophages could alter their location and phenotype. These changes facilitate the accommodation of the aberrant microenvironment and the exacerbation of disease progression. Second, the infiltration of nerve fibers and their abnormal distribution are proved to be involved in the generation of endometriosis-associated pain and inflammatory response. An imbalance in sensory and sympathetic innervation and the abnormal secretion of different cytokines could mediate neurogenesis and subsequent peripheral neuroinflammation in endometriosis. Although endometriosis creates an inflammatory milieu promoting macrophage infiltration and an imbalanced innervation, interaction between macrophages and nerve fibers in this process remains unknown. The aim of this review is to highlight the role of macrophage and nerve interaction in endometriosis, where macrophage recruitment and neurogenesis can be the underlying mechanism of neuroinflammation and pathogenesis of endometriosis.
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