Electrical inhibition of preterm birth: Inhibition of uterine contractility in the rabbit and pup births in the rat

Jeffrey Karsdon, Robert E. Garfield, Shao Qing Shi, William Maner, George Saade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to inhibit uterine contractility during parturition with an electrical current, which is called electrical inhibition, in the rabbit and the rat. Study design: We studied the electrical inhibition of in vitro spontaneously contracting preterm or term gestational rat myometrium tissue and in vivo spontaneously contracting uterus either directly in the rabbit and rat or transvaginally in the rat. Values for myometrial tension, intrauterine pressure, pup birth intervals, and electromyographic activity before and after electrical inhibition were compared. Results: Electrical inhibition decreased rat in vitro myometrial tension by 50%, decreased in vivo rabbit intrauterine pressure by 48%, decreased in vivo rat intrauterine pressure by 80%, and increased birth intervals (latency) by factors of 50 (direct electrical inhibition) and 20 (transvaginal electrical inhibition). All electromyographic activity parameters were reduced significantly. Conclusion: Electrical inhibition of the uterus is possible. Electrical inhibition is rapid and localized; the duration can be prolonged, and the reversibility is spontaneous. Electrical inhibition may be a new method of tocolysis in the human.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1986-1993
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005



  • Preterm birth prevention
  • Rabbit
  • Rat
  • Tocolysis
  • Uterine contraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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