Effect of placental tissue on inhibition of uterine contraction by nitric oxide donors

A. Syal, T. Okawa, Y. Vedernikov, K. Chwalisz, G. R. Saade, Robert E. Garfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to test the hypothesis that placental tissue modulates the effect of nitric oxide on spontaneous uterine contractility in pregnant rats. STUDY DESIGN: Rings (approximately 4 mm) of uterus taken from rats on day 14 (midpregnancy, n = 6), day 18 (late pregnancy, n = 4), and day 22 (term, n = 4) of gestation were placed in organ chambers filled with Krebs-bicarbonate buffer bubbled with 5% carbon dioxide in air (37°C, pH approximately 7.4) for isometric tension recording. In some rings a piece of placenta was left attached to the uterine wall. In the other rings the fetuses, placentas, and membranes were removed completely. Change of spontaneous contractions of the rings (percentage change of basal integral activity for 10 minutes) in response to cumulative concentrations of the nitric oxide donors diethylamine-nitric oxide and nitroglycerin (10-6 mol/L to 10-4 mol/L) were compared between rings with and without placenta. RESULTS: Diethylamine-nitric oxide and nitroglycerin inhibited spontaneous uterine contractions in rings from midpregnancy, in both the absence and the presence of placenta. In rings from midpregnancy, the maximal inhibition of contractions by diethylamine-nitric oxide but not by nitroglycerin was significantly (P < .05) higher in the presence (26.7% ± 3.5% of basal activity) than in the absence (39.36% ± 3.3%) of placenta. Inhibition of contraction by nitric oxide donors in rings from late and term pregnancy was less than in midpregnancy, and the presence of placental tissue did not influence the responses. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of placental tissue enhances inhibition of uterine contractility by agents that spontaneously release nitric oxide, such as diethylamine-nitric oxide, but not by nitroglycerin, which requires metabolic transformation for nitric oxide to be released. Refractoriness to nitric oxide near or at term does not depend on the presence or absence of placental tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-418
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Nitric oxide
  • Nitric oxide donor
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Uterine contractility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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