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Pelvic organs given the slip by the protein fibulin-5

Date:
April 25, 2011
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
Pelvic organ prolapse is a disabling condition that affects almost 50 percent of women over the age of 50. New research provides insight into the underlying molecular mechanisms, identifying potential new targets for nonsurgical approaches to treating the condition.

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a disabling condition that affects almost 50% of women over the age of 50. It occurs when the muscles and ligaments supporting a woman's pelvic organs weaken such that the pelvic organs slip out of place, often protruding into the vagina. For many affected women, treatment involves surgery. Defining the molecular mechanisms underlying POP could provide targets for nonsurgical approaches to treating the condition.

In this context, a team of researchers, led by Hiromi Yanagisawa, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, has now identified a key role for the protein fibulin-5 in preventing the development of POP in mice.

The team found that fibulin-5 prevents the development of POP in mice in two ways. First, it facilitates the assembly of normal elastic fibers that help keep pelvic organs in place. Second, it inhibits the activity of MMP9, a protein that degrades the elastic fibers that help keep pelvic organs in place. As vaginal tissue samples from women with POP also showed increased levels of MMP-9, the authors suggest that therapies targeting elastic fiber-degrading proteins may help prevent, or even ameliorate, POP in women.

Gina Northington, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, discusses in detail the importance of this study in an accompanying commentary. The research appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.


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. Madhusudhan Budatha, Shayzreen Roshanravan, Qian Zheng, Cecilia Weislander, Shelby L. Chapman, Elaine C. Davis, Barry Starcher, R. Ann Word, Hiromi Yanagisawa. Extracellular matrix proteases contribute to progression of pelvic organ prolapse in mice and humans. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2011; DOI: 10.1172/JCI45636
  2. Gina M. Northington. Fibulin-5: two for the price of one maintaining pelvic support. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2011; DOI: 10.1172/JCI57438

Cite This Page:

Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Pelvic organs given the slip by the protein fibulin-5." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110425135506.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2011, April 25). Pelvic organs given the slip by the protein fibulin-5. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110425135506.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Pelvic organs given the slip by the protein fibulin-5." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110425135506.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

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