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J Physiol. 1983 Mar;336:465-78.

Rat endometrial bioelectric activity in vivo and in vitro: effects of adrenaline.


The transuterine potential difference (p.d.) generated by the endometrium was measured in vivo in anaesthetized, ovariectomized rats treated with 10 micrograms oestradiol-17 beta each day for 3 days. Intravenous injection of adrenaline induced transient hyperpolarization of the p.d.; sigmoid dose-dependency was observed over the range 2-40 micrograms/kg. Pre-treatment of the rats with syrosingopine shifted the dose-response curve to the left (enhancement) while combined propranolol (800 micrograms/kg) and phentolamine (800 micrograms/kg) shifted the dose-response curve to the right (depression). Isoprenaline gave similar quantitative changes in the p.d. in vivo which displayed a similar time course and sigmoid dose-dependency. Propranolol alone (800 micrograms/kg) shifted this dose-response curve significantly to the right. Addition of adrenaline or isoprenaline to the serosal solution bathing uteri incubated in vitro after removal from oestradiol-treated rats induced changes in endometrial bioelectric activity that exhibited sigmoid dose-response curves for the transuterine p.d. and short-circuit current (Isc). Propranolol significantly shifted the dose-response curves for adrenaline to the right. Only adrenaline caused small but significant decreases in the uterine resistance but these were not dose-dependent. Acetylcholine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, noradrenaline and phenylephrine had no effect on the transuterine p.d. in vivo or in vitro or on the Isc in vitro. No significant electrical changes could be induced by adrenaline or any of the other drugs across the uteri from untreated ovariectomized rats either in vivo or in vitro. The transluminal membrane p.d. of surface endometrial cells measured with micro-electrodes was depolarized by an addition of serosal adrenaline but only 41% of the cells successfully impaled responded in this way. The results indicate that endometrial cells under oestrogen stimulation possess electrogenic processes that can be modulated specifically by adrenaline through the mediation of a serosally sited beta-adrenoceptor. The physiological role of the mechanism has yet to be established.

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