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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Mar;180(3 Pt 1):614-20.

The action of prostaglandin E2 on the human cervix: stimulation of interleukin 8 and inhibition of secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Centre for Reproductive Biology, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.



The objective of this study was to investigate regulation of inflammatory mediators implicated in cervical ripening and to explore the mechanisms by which the clinically effective agent prostaglandin E2 may mediate cervical ripening.


Cervical biopsy specimens were taken from healthy, nonpregnant women undergoing a hysterectomy for a benign nonmalignant condition and were cultured, with treatments in quadruplicate, for 24 hours in media supplemented with progesterone, dexamethasone, nitric oxide, interleukin 8, and prostaglandin E2. Media were collected and assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for interleukin 8, secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor, and prostaglandin E2. Ethical approval was obtained for this study from the local ethics committee.


Interleukin 8 release from cervical explants was stimulated by prostaglandin E2 and nitric oxide and inhibited by progesterone and dexamethasone. Secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor release from cervical explants was stimulated by progesterone and inhibited by prostaglandin E2. Prostaglandin E2 release from cervical explants was stimulated by nitric oxide.


Complex interactions occur between inflammatory cytokines within the cervix; these results further our understanding of the mechanism of cervical ripening.

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