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Gynecol Obstet Fertil. 2011 Jun;39(6):365-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gyobfe.2011.04.006. Epub 2011 May 24.

[Biochemistry of fetal membranes rupture].

[Article in French]

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Inserm U1016, institut Cochin, département génétique et développement, faculté de médecine Cochin, 24, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Jacques, 75014 Paris, France.


Fetal membranes, amnion and chorion, line up the amniotic cavity and are essential for its integrity towards normal term of pregnancy. They consist of a pluristratified structure whose composition assures their cohesion and elasticity. They firstly function in retaining the fluctuant amniotic fluid in a half-rigid cavity. Their elastic limit depends on the organization of the extracellular matrix and firstly on the collagen type it contains. The compact layer of the amnion, responsible for the elastic limit, contains mainly type I collagen, organized in lattice; this allows elongation or spreading. Underneath, the spongy layer, principally of collagen III, is organized in a loose mesh, enriched in hydrated proteoglycans, which allows the absorption of the shocks and the sliding of the amnion on the chorion. The cascade of events leading to the membrane rupture displays: (i) membranes distension with elasticity loss, (ii) separation of the chorion from the amnion, (iii) chorion fracture, (iv) amnion distension which produces an hernia, (v) amnion rupture. The rupture mechanism was long thought to be a consequence of uterine contractions. However, the observation before labour of a zone of altered morphology, with biochemical variations (modifications of metalloprotease activity and of proteoglycans, apoptosis...) associated with focal physical weakness in the region overlying the cervix suggests programming of the rupture before parturition. A better understanding of the biochemical mechanisms of membranes rupture will provide new insights into how to anticipate and to intervene in the case of risk of premature rupture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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