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Oxf Rev Reprod Biol. 1988;10:436-90.

Control of myometrial contractility: role and regulation of gap junctions.


In this review we have attempted to describe the morphology and electrophysiology of the myometrium and also the myogenic, neurogenic and hormonal systems which control its activity. The synthesis of myometrial gap junctions appears to play a significant role in the gradual evolution of uterine contractility during labour. We suggest that the development of myometrial gap junctions is physiologically regulated by the steroid hormones, their receptors and prostaglandins. Furthermore, the permeability or conductance of the gap junction channels as well as their degradation seems to be hormonally regulated (Figure 10.6). Thus, there are several sites for the control of the presence and function of the gap junctions and the management of uterine contractility.

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