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Mol Hum Reprod. 1999 Sep;5(9):880-4.

Expression of cyclo-oxygenase types-1 and -2 in human myometrium throughout pregnancy.

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  • 1The London Myometrial Group Division of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Queen Charlottes and Chelsea Hospital, Goldhawk Road, London W6 OXG, UK.


Human labour is associated with increased prostaglandin synthesis within the uterus. The aim of this study was to examine the expression of the two isoforms of the central prostaglandin synthetic enzyme, cyclo-oxygenase (COX-1 and COX-2) in human myometrium throughout pregnancy and to test the hypothesis that COX in the myometrium may play a role in labour onset. Expression of COX-1 and COX-2 at the mRNA level was analysed using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and at the protein level using Western blotting. No significant changes of COX-1 RNA or protein expression were observed either with gestational age or labour. COX-2 mRNA and protein expression increased at term with significant up-regulation occurring prior to the onset of labour (P < 0.005). These data would suggest that up-regulation of COX-2, rather than COX-1, mediates increased prostaglandin synthesis in human myometrium at term. The increased COX-2 expression observed preceded labour onset, suggesting that COX-2 has a role in labour onset, rather than its presence merely a consequence of labour.

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