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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Mar;178(3):557-61.

Expression of cell adhesion molecules by endothelium in the human lower uterine segment during parturition at term.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Technical University (RWTH) of Aachen, Germany.



Our purpose was to determine whether the expression of certain adhesion molecules by endothelium in the human lower uterine segment at term varies with the degree of cervical dilatation.


Biopsy specimens of the lower uterine segment of 34 women undergoing cesarean section at term at various stages of cervical dilatation were immunostained for endothelial leukocyte adhesion molecule-1, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, and platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule.


The expression of endothelial leukocyte adhesion molecule-1 was significantly greater at more than 6 cm dilatation than at less than 2 cm (p = 0.00031) as was that of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (p = 0.033). Expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule did not vary with the degree of cervical dilatation.


Cervical dilatation is associated with up-regulation of certain endothelial cell adhesion molecules. The findings support the hypothesis that certain processes associated with cervical dilatation at term resemble those involved in the acute inflammatory reaction.

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