Function of the BCL6 Protein and How It Relates to Endometriosis
Fertility doctors can determine various causes of infertility, but sometimes there’s no apparent cause. Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of unexplained infertility, as it can take years to diagnose.
Patients who experience poor IVF results or difficulty diagnosing the cause of their infertility can consider BCL6 tests. BCL6 & endometriosis have a unique link, and fertility doctors can test for the presence of the BCL6 protein to diagnose endometriosis.
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What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is one of the most common causes of unexplained infertility because it takes several years to manifest detectable symptoms. Recently, fertility doctors have determined that BCL6 & endometriosis are linked.
The levels of the BCL6 protein increase during the secretory phase of the menses and are a strong indication of endometriosis. Endometrial tissues grow naturally in the uterus and thicken in anticipation of implantation. During menses, the tissues are shed and discharged.
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissues grow elsewhere. Most cases involve tissues growing in the fallopian tube. When this happens, the tissues can block eggs, interfere with ovulation, and prevent fertilization.
Endometrial tissues growing in odd places like the fallopian tube may not find an exit pathway when shed during menses. This can result in irritation, adhesions, scarring, and cysts in different areas around the reproductive organs.
Endometriosis can be diagnosed using laparoscopy, which is often recommended when a patient’s infertility is unexplained.
What Is BCL6 Protein?
BCL6 protein refers to a protein encoded by the BCL6 gene. The gene is identified as an oncogene that can impact the development of cancers and tumors. The BCL6 gene has a role in cell development, death, and inflammation.
According to medical research, high levels of the BCL6 protein can increase inflammatory cytokines and alter the immune environment. The BLC6 gene plays a key role as a lymphoma maker induced by inflammation. When inflammation occurs around the uterine lining, it can impact embryo development.
The BCL6 gene can pair with the SIRT1 enzyme, and the two are currently the primary identified causes of progesterone resistance. SIRT1 is a beneficial enzyme linked to cellular longevity but also increases proliferative endometriosis phenotype. The enzyme is induced by the oncogene KRAS.
When it pairs with BCL6, it can bind to pregnancy-related genes and turn them off. High levels of the BCL6 and SIRT1 enzymes increase the likelihood of turning off pregnancy-related downstream genes. This can result in implantation failures and repeated miscarriages.
How Are the Two Related?
The presence of BCL6 protein is closely related to endometriosis. Studies have shown that the protein is overexpressed when women with endometriosis undergo menses. Women with unexplained infertility also demonstrate overexpression of the BCL6 protein.
Many women with unexplained infertility test positive for endometriosis after a laparoscopy. This has prompted doctors to use BCL6 protein values to predict possible endometriosis. In most cases, the women who test positive for high levels of BCL6 also have endometriosis.
Overexpressed BCL6 protein can result in poor IVF outcomes as it impacts implantation, causing the embryo to attach improperly. If the underlying issue is endometriosis, the egg may not make it to the sperm because of hindered ovulation, which prevents fertilization.
People with endometriosis may experience chronic pelvic pain, bowel and bladder symptoms, heavy bleeding during menses, bloating, nausea, and fatigue. Symptoms can manifest during menses, sex, or when urinating. Overexpressed BCL6 protein strongly indicates that doctors should proceed with a laparoscopy and excision surgery.
A positive BCL6 test points to inflammation in the uterine lining, which can lead to difficulty conceiving. If conception is impossible even after multiple IVF cycles, the problem may be endometriosis, which requires surgical intervention.
A BCL6 test isn’t conclusive but can help doctors determine if a laparoscopy is necessary. Most women who test positive for high levels of the BCL6 protein also test positive for endometriosis. Treating endometriosis can help resolve unexplained infertility.
Talk to Your Doctor About BCL6 & Endometriosis
Since its discovery, the BCL6 protein has had a significant role in diagnosing endometriosis and treating unexplained infertility. Women can take a BCL6 test during any stage of endometriosis.
Many women whose test results show high levels of BCL6 protein also get diagnosed with abnormal endometrial growths. Since BCL6 & endometriosis are linked, the BCL6 test is helpful in determining the need for laparoscopy. Talk to your doctor today about scheduling a BCL6 test and diagnosing your endometriosis