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1 May 2009 Progesterone-Regulated Caspase 3 Action in the Mouse May Play a Role in Uterine Quiescence During Pregnancy Through Fragmentation of Uterine Myocyte Contractile Proteins
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Abstract

The appropriate timing of the onset of labor is critical to a successful pregnancy, with potentially devastating consequences resulting to both the mother and child with the onset of preterm labor. In this study, we tested the central hypothesis that progesterone maintains uterine quiescence through regulation of active uterine caspase 3. Using the mouse as our model system, we examined, by Western blot analysis, levels of active caspase 3 and its association with the degradation of uterine contractile proteins during pregnancy. Our data demonstrate that caspase 3-specific cleavage fragments of uterine myocyte contractile proteins are elevated in late gestation. Prior to the onset of labor, active caspase 3 levels and fragmentation of the uterine myocyte contractile proteins decline. We postulate that uterine caspase 3 acts as an anticontractile agent maintaining uterine quiescence through degradation of uterine contractile proteins during late pregnancy. We propose that decreased progesterone action during the final days of pregnancy controls the timing of the onset of uterine contractions by removing the anticontractile action of the apoptotic protein caspase 3 locally in the pregnant myometrium.

Pancharatnam Jeyasuria, Jaime Wetzel, Megan Bradley, Kalpana Subedi, and Jennifer C. Condon "Progesterone-Regulated Caspase 3 Action in the Mouse May Play a Role in Uterine Quiescence During Pregnancy Through Fragmentation of Uterine Myocyte Contractile Proteins," Biology of Reproduction 80(5), 928-934, (1 May 2009). https://doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod.108.070425
Received: 6 May 2008; Accepted: 1 December 2008; Published: 1 May 2009
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