Send to

Choose Destination
Endocrinology. 1994 Dec;135(6):2473-8.

Pregnancy increases guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate in the myometrium independent of nitric oxide synthesis.

Author information

Wellcome Research Laboratories, Beckenham, Kent, United Kingdom.


The mechanism for myometrial quiescence during pregnancy is unknown. cGMP plays an integral role in the relaxation of smooth muscle, and nitric oxide (NO) is the most important endogenous activator of soluble guanylate cyclase. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of gestational age on myometrial cGMP and NO synthase (NOS) activity in the guinea pig. Myometrial cGMP content (measured by RIA) rose slowly until 0.49 (fraction of pregnancy completed) gestation before abruptly increasing to 200 times the non-pregnant control value. It then declined precipitously after 0.87 gestation. Of the known isoenzymes of NOS, the messenger RNAs coding for both endothelial and neuronal NOS could be amplified from the myometrium of pregnant and nonpregnant animals using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, but inducible NOS messenger RNA was not found. Myometrial calcium-dependent NOS activity (measured by the conversion of L-[U-14C]arginine to [U-14C]citrulline) declined slowly with advancing gestation (r2 = 0.096; slope = -0.34; P = 0.01), but never differed significantly from the activity in nonpregnant animals [31.1 +/- 11 (term pregnancy) vs. 56.9 +/- 16 (nonpregnant) pmol/min.g; P = NS]. Calcium-independent activity declined shortly after conception, and then rose toward the nonpregnant level (r2 = 0.19; slope = 0.45; P = 0.0009). However, at no time was it significantly different from that in the nonpregnant animal. Pregnancy had no effect on myometrial L-arginine and L-citrulline content. The administration of L-nitro-arginine methyl ester (200 mg/kg) to inhibit NOS dramatically increased blood pressure and reduced fetal renal NOS activity, but had no effect on the myometrial cGMP content. Estradiol (500 micrograms/kg for 5 days) modestly increased cGMP, but in contrast to many tissues in which estradiol increases NOS, it had no effect on myometrial NOS activity. We conclude that pregnancy dramatically increases cGMP by a mechanism independent of NOS. The stimulus remains to be identified. The temporal change in cGMP concentration is consistent with the hypothesis that cGMP mediates myometrial quiescence during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center