To determine the prostaglandin (PG) H2 synthase (generally referred to as cyclooxygenase [COX]) isozyme responsible for producing uterotonic PGs during parturition, we used PGF2α receptor-deficient mice, which exhibit parturition failure due to impaired withdrawal of serum progesterone at term. On ovariectomy-induced parturition in these mice, uterine COX-2 mRNA expression was drastically induced in the myometrium, whereas COX-1 mRNA expression in the endometrial epithelium decreased. The concomitant administration of progesterone with ovariectomy resulted in a delay in parturition and the disappearance of both the increase in COX-2 mRNA and the decrease in COX-1 mRNA. Thus, the expression of myometrial COX-2 and the occurrence of parturition are closely associated in this model. Furthermore, administration of the COX-nonselective inhibitor, indomethacin, or the COX-2-selective inhibitor, Dup-697 or JTE-522, effectively delayed ovariectomy-induced parturition in these mice. These findings suggest that COX-2-derived PGs contribute to the onset of parturition after the decrease in serum progesterone level.
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