Preterm birth, prolonged labor influenced by progesterone balance
Novel research in mice sheds light on hormone regulation needed in late pregnancy, opens door for therapy
New research by the National Institutes of Health found that unbalanced progesterone signals may cause some pregnant women to experience preterm labor or prolonged labor. The study in mice — published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — provides novel insights for developing treatments.
During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone helps to prevent the uterus from contracting and going into labor prematurely. This occurs through molecular signaling involving progesterone receptor types A and B, referred to as PGR-A and PGR-B. In this first-of-its-kind study, the scientists showed how unbalanced PGR-A and PGR-B signaling can affect pregnancy duration.
“We used genetically engineered mouse models to alter the ratio of PGR-A and PGR-B in the muscle compartment of the uterus, called the myometrium,” said senior author Francesco DeMayo, Ph.D., head of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Reproductive and Developmental Biology Laboratory. “Our team found that PGR-A promotes muscle contraction and PGR-B prevents such contraction, and we identified the biological pathways influenced by both forms.”
This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022