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Possible dual roles for prostacyclin in human pregnancy and labor

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Michael TaggartORCiD, Emeritus Professor Nick Europe-Finner



During pregnancy, the muscular layer of the uterine wall known as the myometrium, which is composed mainly of smooth muscle cells, is maintained in a state of relative quiescence. A switch from myometrial quiescence to myometrial activation is required to establish uterine contractions during labor. Researchers have long been perplexed by the fact that the major prostaglandin produced by the uterus just prior to labor, prostacyclin, is a smooth muscle relaxant. In this issue of the JCI, Fetalvero et al. provide data that they propose explains this paradox, at least in part (see the related article beginning on page 3966). The authors examined uterine tissue from pregnant women near term and found that prostacyclin stimulation, which raises cAMP levels that were previously thought to affect only myometrial quiescence, can promote myometrial activation over time by increasing the expression of a select group of proteins thought to be indicative of a uterine contractile state.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Taggart MJ, Europe-Finner GN, Mitchell BF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Year: 2008

Volume: 118

Issue: 12

Pages: 3829-3832

Date deposited: 18/02/2009

ISSN (print): 0021-9738

ISSN (electronic): 1558-8238

Publisher: American Society of Clinical Investigation


DOI: 10.1172/JCI37785


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