The time course of pregnancy-induced changes in the contractile responses of isolated uterine rings and sympathetic innervation pattern were studied using electric field stimulation and histofluorescence techniques, respectively, in intact and 6-hydroxydopamine-treated rats. Neurally mediated contractions elicited by field stimulation (0.6 msec, 1–70 Hz, 40 V) were measured in uterine preparations obtained from nonpregnant, 6-hydroxydopamine-treated and 5-, 10-, 15-, 18-, and 22-day (term) pregnant rats. At all frequencies, the amplitudes of contractions were highest in nonpregnant uteri. Stimulation at 1–2.5 Hz evoked contractions in 10-day pregnant uteri but failed to cause contractions on Day 5 and from Day 15 onward. In uterine preparations obtained from term and from 6-hydroxydopamine-treated rats, contractions could not be evoked by stimulation at 1–20 Hz. Fluorescence histochemistry of uterine adrenergic nerves revealed rich perivascular and myometrial innervation in nonpregnant and in pregnant rats through Day 10. Degeneration and loss of adrenergic nerve fibers was apparent by Day 15, and fluorescent myometrial and perivascular nerves were practically absent by Day 22. These findings demonstrate a progressive, frequency-related reduction of nerve-mediated uterine contractions beginning in midterm pregnancy, in parallel with a gradual loss of adrenergic nerve fibers. Pregnancy-induced nerve degeneration may promote the development of nonsynaptic α-adrenergic uterine contractile activity towards term. The reduced responsiveness of uterine smooth muscle to electric field stimulation in early pregnancy appears to be unrelated to alterations in uterine innervation but may be related to changes associated with implantation.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.