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The differential expression of myometrial connexin-43, cyclooxygenase-1 and -2, and G(s)α proteins in the upper and lower segments of the human uterus during pregnancy and labor

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Steve RobsonORCiD, Dr Jacqueline Bailey, Emeritus Professor Nick Europe-Finner


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There is evidence from many studies indicating that a number of specific quiescent and contractile associated proteins are temporally regulated in the myometrium during pregnancy. In this present investigation we provide data that strongly suggest that myometrial connexin-43, cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 (COX-1 and -2), and G(s)α proteins are also spatially expressed within the human uterus during pregnancy and labor. Using paired lower and upper segment myometrial samples taken from individual women at term and during spontaneous labor, we have measured the expression of these proteins by immunoblotting with specific antibodies. We report that the myometrial gap junction connexin-43 protein is expressed at much greater levels in the upper uterine compared to the lower uterine segment and that this difference is even more pronounced during the course of labor. Conversely, myometrial COX-1 and -2 proteins appear to be expressed at much greater levels in the lower compared to the upper uterine segment. Moreover, the level of expression of both proteins is unaffected by the onset of parturition. In contrast, myometrial G(s)α protein appears to be uniformly expressed in both lower and upper segments and is similarly down-regulated during parturition, as previously reported. The differential expression of COX-1 and -2 and connexin-43 in the uterus may allow cervical ripening before and dilatation during labor and facilitate effective propagation of contractions from fundus to cervix, which may be further facilitated by the down-regulation of G(s)α at the onset of parturition.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sparey C, Robson SC, Bailey JJ, Lyall F, Europe-Finner GN

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

Year: 1999

Volume: 84

Issue: 5

Pages: 1705-1710

ISSN (print): 0021-972X

ISSN (electronic): 1945-7197

Publisher: The Endocrine Society


DOI: 10.1210/jc.84.5.1705

PubMed id: 10323404


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