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Reprod Sci. 2007 Sep;14(6):568-77.

Expression of corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor type 1 and type 2 in human pregnant myometrium.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Changhai Hospital, Shanghai, PR China.


It has been suggested that corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) receptors CRH-R1 and CRH-R2 might be involved in the modulation of uterine activity during pregnancy. The authors determine the localization, concentrations, and variants of CRH-R1 and CRH-R2 in the human pregnant myometrium from patients undergoing labor and patients not undergoing labor. Biopsies were taken from 40 patients undergoing either elective or emergency cesarean delivery after spontaneous labor. The localization of CRH-R1 and CRH-R2 was examined by immunohistochemistry. The mRNA and protein levels of CRH-R1 and CRH-R2 were measured by quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Western blot analysis, respectively. The variants of CRH-R1 and CRH-R2 were determined by PCR analysis followed by sequencing. Both CRH-R1 and CRH-R2 were found by immunohistochemistry to be expressed by smooth muscle cells in the pregnant myometrium. There was no significant difference in mRNA and protein levels of CRH-R1 and CRH-R2 in myometria between the labor and nonlabor groups. Levels of CRH-R1 alpha , R1 beta, R1c, R1e, R1f, and R2 alpha were identified in the pregnant myometrium, and levels of CRH-R1 alpha, R1c, and R2 alpha were detected in both the term labor and nonlabor myometrium. A heterogeneous distribution of other CRH-R1 variants in term labor and nonlabor myometrium was observed. Human myometrium expresses both CRH-R1 and CRH-R2 during pregnancy. A heterogeneous distribution of CRH-R1 variants in term labor and nonlabor myometrium might be related to the effects of CRH on contractile phenotype of myometrium at the term.

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