Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Process of cervical ripening differs between term and preterm birth

Date:
June 21, 2011
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
Cervical ripening that instigates preterm labor is distinct from what happens at the onset of normal term labor, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

Cervical ripening that instigates preterm labor is distinct from what happens at the onset of normal term labor, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

The findings challenge the conventional premise that premature cervical ripening and remodeling is likely just an accelerated version of the term labor process, and that normal term ripening is caused primarily by activation of inflammatory responses.

Cervical remodeling is the process by which the cervix is transformed to open sufficiently during the birth process.

"Premature cervical remodeling can occur by more than one mechanism and is not necessarily an acceleration of the physiologic process in term labor. Depending on the cause of preterm birth, that mechanism can vary," said Dr. Mala Mahendroo, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences at UT Southwestern, and senior author of the study published in a recent issue of Endocrinology.

The study has been selected by the Faculty of 1000 -- an international group of more than 10,000 leading scientists and researchers -- to be in its top 2 percent of published articles in biology and medicine.

Previous studies suggest that in term or preterm labor, white blood cells influx into the cervix and release enzymes that break down tissue support and remodel the cervix, allowing a baby to pass through the birth canal. That's only half-right, researchers in this investigation report.

"The immune system or inflammatory response is sufficient to cause cervical ripening, but it's not absolutely necessary for it to happen," said Dr. Brenda Timmons, research scientist in obstetrics and gynecology and co-lead author of the study.

Nearly 13 percent of all births in the U.S. are preterm. Premature infants can suffer respiratory distress, intraventricular hemorrhage and even cerebral palsy. Identified risk factors for preterm birth include smoking, alcohol consumption, advanced maternal age, genetics, cervical insufficiency, previous preterm birth and infection.

"In about half of all preterm births, the cause is unknown. It's critical to determine the multiple causes of preterm birth so that effective therapies can be developed for each kind," said Dr. Roxane Holt, a maternal-fetal medicine fellow and co-lead author of the study.

"When patients present in preterm labor, we don't have a lot of therapy to stop the labor," she said.

UT Southwestern researchers compared preterm birth models in mice. They injected lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to promote infection-like conditions and an inflammatory response in one model. In the other, they administered mifepristone (RU486) to simulate the withdrawal of the gestation-supporting hormone progesterone, which normally takes place at the end of a pregnancy.

Researchers report that cervical changes in inflammation-induced conditions are caused by an influx of white blood cells and an increased expression of pro-inflammatory markers with no increase in the expression of genes induced in term ripening. Preterm ripening induced by progesterone withdrawal results from the combined activation of processes that occur during term ripening and shortly postpartum.

"These findings, if translatable in women, suggest one therapy may not be effective for all preterm births, and that early identification of the cause of prematurity is necessary to determine the correct therapy," Dr. Mahendroo said.

Also participating in the study from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology were Dr. Yucel Akgul, a postdoctoral fellow, and Meredith Akins, a graduate student.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Process of cervical ripening differs between term and preterm birth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621074209.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2011, June 21). Process of cervical ripening differs between term and preterm birth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621074209.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "Process of cervical ripening differs between term and preterm birth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110621074209.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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