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Mol Endocrinol. 2003 Aug;17(8):1454-69. Epub 2003 May 29.

Microarray analysis of uterine gene expression in mouse and human pregnancy.

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Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Improved care of infants born prematurely has increased their survival. However, the incidence of preterm labor has not changed. To understand the processes involved in preterm labor, we used oligonucleotide microarrays to study gene expression in murine and human uterus during pregnancy. The induction of enzymes for prostaglandin synthesis was used as a marker for important changes during pregnancy because prostaglandins strongly contribute to both human and murine labor. We identified 504 genes that changed at least 2-fold between d 13.5 and 19.0 in the gravid mouse uterus. In the pregnant human myometrium, we found 478 genes that changed at least 2-fold in either term or preterm labor compared with preterm nonlabor specimens and 77 genes that significantly varied in both preterm and term labor. Patterns of gene regulation within functional groups comparing human preterm and term labor were similar, although the magnitude of change often varied. Surprisingly, few genes that changed significantly throughout pregnancy were the same in the mouse and human. These data suggest that functional progesterone withdrawal in human myometrium may not be the primary mechanism for labor induction, may implicate similar mechanisms for idiopathic preterm and term labor in humans, and may identify novel targets for further study.

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