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J Obstet Gynaecol (Tokyo 1995). 1995 Apr;21(2):185-94.

Biochemical events in cervical ripening dilatation during pregnancy and parturition.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Göttingen, Germany.


In specimens taken from the posterior lip of the cervix uteri we determined the collagenase activity and the glycosaminoglycan concentration. In biopsies obtained from the lower uterine segment during cesarian section we measured cytokines (IL-8, IL-2, TNF alpha) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-8, MMP-9). We found that the release of collagenases is critically involved in the process of cervical dilatation. The glycosaminoglycan concentration increases during pregnancy and shows remarkable changes of the distribution patterns of the different glycosaminoglycans. The parturition is characterized by a dramatic loss of most of the glycosaminoglycans. Furthermore, the IL-8 shows a close correlation to the clinical feature of cervical ripening and is closely associated with the release of MMP-8 and MMP-9. Summarizing the process of cervical maturation and dilatation is a complex enzymatic controlled process with substantial remodelling of the cervical extracellular matrix. The cytokines IL-8 seems to play an essential role in triggering the process of cervical dilatation.

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