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Hemoxygenase and nitric oxide synthase do not maintain human uterine quiescence during pregnancy

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Steve RobsonORCiD


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The nitric oxide (NO)-cGMP pathway has been proposed as a mechanism for relaxation of myometrium during pregnancy and as a modulator of labor. Carbon monoxide (CO), produced by hemeoxygenases (HO-1 and HO-2), also activates soluble guanylate cyclase to increase cGMP, A recent study reported a large increase in HO-1 and HO-2 proteins during pregnancy, suggesting that the MO-CO pathway may be important in the maintenance of uterine quiescence during pregnancy. In this study we used Western blotting, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, and immunohistochemistry to determine HO-1 and HO-2 expression in nonpregnant, pregnant, and laboring myometrium, Immunolocalization of HO was also compared with endothelial and inducible nitric oxide synthases (eNOS and iNOS). In contrast to HO-1 protein, which was not detected in myometrium, HO-2 protein and mRNA were constitutively expressed, although there were no differences in expression between the groups. eNOS was expressed in endothelial cells but not in myometrial. smooth muscle. iNOS protein was not detected in myometrium, These data do not support an up-regulation of HO-1 and HO-2 during pregnancy and are not consistent with a role for NO of a major role for CO in human. myometrial quiescence. Our results are also in keeping with HO-2 being an noninducible protein.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Robson SC; Barber A; Lyall F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Pathology

Year: 1999

Volume: 155

Issue: 3

Pages: 831-840

Print publication date: 01/09/1999

ISSN (print): 0002-9440

ISSN (electronic): 1525-2191

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)65182-6


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