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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2007 Jun;18(3):340-7. Epub 2007 May 18.

The regulation of uterine relaxation.

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University of Bristol, Department of Clinical Science at South Bristol (Obstetrics & Gynaecology), Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology, Whitson Street, Bristol BS1 3NY, UK.


The regulation of uterine relaxation is poorly understood but research in myometrial tissue and other types of smooth muscle has defined a number of receptors, ion channels and regulatory proteins that are likely to be involved. Some of these proteins are substrates for protein kinases, especially cyclic nucleotide dependent kinases. More research is necessary to identify the key molecules involved in the maintenance of uterine quiescence in pregnancy. The use of tocolytics in preterm labour remains controversial; there is a need to identify better pharmacological targets to provoke safe and selective uterine relaxation and improve neonatal outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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