Contractile function of the cervix plays a role in normal and pathological pregnancy and parturition

Ourlad Alzeus G. Tantengco, Ramkumar Menon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The cervix plays an integral part in ensuring the proper timing of pregnancy and parturition. It maintains the fetus within the uterus and protects it from pathogens present in the vaginal canal. The cervix undergoes extensive remodeling during pregnancy and parturition. This process is associated with collagen degradation, an increase in immune cell response and inflammation in the cervix. However, our understanding of the role of cervical smooth muscles and their contribution to cervical remodeling is still lacking. In this paper, we propose that the active contractile function of the cervix influences cervical remodeling during pregnancy and parturition. Contraction of the cervical smooth muscles helps the cervix to remain firm and closed during early pregnancy, while relaxation of the cervical smooth muscles help facilitate cervical dilatation during labor. This contractile function of the cervix can be influenced by endocrine signals, such as estrogen, progesterone, and oxytocin; local paracrine signals, such as inflammatory chemokines and cytokines, as well as extracellular vesicles, such as exosomes and ectosomes; and by pharmacological agents used for cervical ripening and the induction of labor. A deeper understanding of the role of smooth muscles in cervical remodeling can help us elucidate the cellular processes in the cervix during pregnancy and parturition. This can also help in finding critical signaling pathways and therapeutic targets in the cervix that may decrease the rates of premature cervical ripening and preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110336
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Volume145
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Cervical remodeling
  • Cervical ripening
  • Labor
  • Oxytocin
  • Prostaglandins
  • Smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Contractile function of the cervix plays a role in normal and pathological pregnancy and parturition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this