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Gynecol Endocrinol. 2004 Jan;18(1):41-6.

Differential regulation of the progesterone receptor A and B in the human uterine cervix at parturition.

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  • 1Department of Woman and Child Health, Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Karolinska Hospital, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.


The concept of a blockade of progesterone during human pregnancy and withdrawal of this blockade at parturition remains controversial There is no sharp fall in serum progesterone before parturition, but treatment with an antiprogestin is successful for labor induction at term pregnancy. The human progesterone receptor (PR) exists in two isoforms (PR-A and PR-B), mediating different biological responses. Here, the hypothesis of a progesterone withdrawal at parturition in terms of a change in PR isoforms was tested. Cervical biopsies were obtained at term before the onset of labor, immediately after parturition and from non-pregnant women. Solution hybridization showed a tendency for the PR mRNA level to be decreased at parturition. Immunohistochemistry displayed decreased PR(A + B) and PR-B levels (p < 0.05) immediately after parturition. The relative importance of PR-A seemed higher immediately after parturition as compared to its importance in non-pregnant and term pregnant women. Our results are consistent with the concept of a functional progesterone blockade at the receptor level at term pregnancy, and withdrawal of this blockade at parturition. These observations may have important clinical and therapeutic implications.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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