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Placenta. 2013 Dec;34(12):1163-9. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2013.10.007. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Role of both actin-myosin cross bridges and NO-cGMP pathway modulators in the contraction and relaxation of human placental stem villi.

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Centre de Recherche Clinique, Centre Hospitalier Régional de Meaux, France; UMR-S 1139 INSERM Université Descartes Paris 5, Sorbonne Paris Cité, France.



Human placental stem villi (PSV) present contractile properties. We studied the role of actin-myosin cross bridges (CBs) and the effects of NO-cGMP pathway modulators in the PSV contraction and relaxation.


In vitro contractile properties were investigated in 71 PSV from term human placentas studied according to their long axis. Contraction was induced by both KCl and electrical tetanic stimulation. Relaxation was induced by inhibiting the CB cycle with either 2,3-butanedione monoxime (BDM) or blebbistatin (BLE) and by activating the NO-cGMP pathway with isosorbide dinitrate (ISDN), sildenafil (SIL) or ISDN + SIL.


PSV tension slowly increased by 140% of the basal tone after KCl exposure and by 85% after tetanus. The addition of BDM, BLE, ISDN, SIL and ISDN + SIL induced a relaxation of PSV, the overall time course of relaxation (in s) was respectively (means ± SD) 3412 ± 1904, 14,250 ± 3095*, 3813 ± 1383, 2883 ± 1188 and 2440 ± 477; significantly longer in BLE compared with BDM, ISDN, SIL and ISDN + SIL:*p < 0.001). the overall time course of relaxation (in s) was respectively (means ± SD) 3412 ± 1904, 14,250 ± 3095*, 3813 ± 1383, 2883 ± 1188 and 2440 ± 477; significantly longer in BLE compared with BDM, ISDN, SIL and ISDN + SIL:*p < 0.001). These relaxation kinetics were particularly slow. Other relaxation parametres, i.e., maximum lengthening, -peak dT/dt, and resting tension, did not differ between these 5 subgroups.


Isolated human PSV were able to contract after both KCl exposure and tetanus. This increase in contractility was reversed by inhibiting the CB cycle with BDM or BLE and by stimulating the NO-cGMP pathway with ISDN or SIL. The association ISDN + SIL did not potentiate the relaxing processes.


2,3-Butanedione monoxime; Actin myosin crossbridges; Blebbistatin; Human placenta; Isosorbide dinitrate; NO-cGMP pathway; Sildenafil

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