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Steroids. 2003 Nov;68(10-13):837-47.

Endocrine regulation of cervical ripening in humans--potential roles for gonadal steroids and insulin-like growth factor-I.

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1
Department of Woman and Child Health, Divisions for Obstetrics and Gynecology, Karolinska Hospital, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden. Gunvor.Ekman-Ordebreg@kbh.ki.se

Abstract

Cervical softening is crucial for a normal parturition and corresponds to remodeling of the dominating cervical extra cellular matrix (ECM). The onset of labor as well as cervical ripening is under hormonal control. To get further information about the endocrine regulation of term cervical ripening the following study was undertaken: cervical biopsies were obtained vaginally at elective caesareans, after normal vaginal delivery and after PGE2 or antiprogestin RU486. Biopsies from non-pregnant women served as controls. The concentrations of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) protein were quantitated by EIA and the mRNA levels by solution hybridization. The ERalpha and beta were localized by immunohistochemistry, identified by RT-PCR and quantitated by solution hybridization. The co-localizations of CD45 (leukocyte antigen) and CD68 (macrophage antigen) were studied by immunohistochemistry. The cervical concentrations of ER and PR proteins decreased at term to 15 and 25%, respectively, compared to the non-pregnant levels. A further decrease was measured in the maximal ripened cervix at parturition. The mRNA levels were unchanged but IGF-I mRNA reached a maximum at term. ERalpha mRNA was significantly decreased until delivery, whereas ERbeta mRNA, like IGF-I; was maximum at term. By immunostaining ERbeta could be co-localized with CD45 leukocyte antigen and CD68 macrophage specific antigen. Oral administration of RU486 induced a significant increase in ER protein concentration, whereas PGE2 and spontaneous ripening did not. These findings indicate that cervical ripening is related to significant local hormonal changes.

PMID:
14667976
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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