Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

To Contract Or Not: A Key Question For The Uterine Muscles In Pregnancy

Date:
December 11, 2008
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
During pregnancy, the muscles of the uterus are relatively inactive. A switch to an activated state capable of strong contractions is therefore essential prior to the onset of labor. New research provides insight into the events that prime the uterine muscles for contraction, something the investigators hope might have implications for the development of therapies for preterm labor (i.e., labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy), the most serious complication of pregnancy in developed countries.

During pregnancy, the muscles of the uterus are relatively inactive. A switch to an activated state capable of strong contractions is therefore essential prior to the onset of labor.

Related Articles


Kathleen Martin and colleagues, at Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, have now provided new insight into the events that prime the uterine muscles for contraction, something that they hope might have implications for the development of therapies for preterm labor (i.e., labor that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy), the most serious complication of pregnancy in developed countries.

In the study, when the protein IP on the surface of muscle cells in human uterine tissue strips obtained from pregnant women undergoing Caesarean delivery prior to the onset of natural labor was stimulated by agonist chemicals, it induced the upregulation of proteins involved in muscle contraction. Further, the same chemicals increased the contraction of these tissue strips in response to the hormone oxytocin.

The authors therefore conclude that the molecule that normally binds IP in vivo, prostacyclin, primes the muscles in the human uterus, allowing for strong contractions during labor.

As Michael Taggart, at Newcastle University, United Kingdom, and colleagues discuss in an accompanying commentary, these data might be viewed by many as contentious, because prostacyclin is a smooth muscle relaxant. However, they do provide an explanation for the paradoxical observation that one of the major signaling molecules produced by the uterus just prior to labor is prostacyclin.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Fetalvero et al. Prostacyclin primes pregnant human myometrium for an enhanced contractile response in parturition. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2008; DOI: 10.1172/JCI33800
  2. Taggart et al. Possible dual roles for prostacyclin in human pregnancy and labor. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2008; DOI: 10.1172/JCI37785

Cite This Page:

Journal of Clinical Investigation. "To Contract Or Not: A Key Question For The Uterine Muscles In Pregnancy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081120171321.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2008, December 11). To Contract Or Not: A Key Question For The Uterine Muscles In Pregnancy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081120171321.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "To Contract Or Not: A Key Question For The Uterine Muscles In Pregnancy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081120171321.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins