Elevated expression of catechol-O-methyltransferase is associated with labor and increased prostaglandin E2 production by human fetal membranes

Hassan Harirah, Chandrasekhar Thota, Melissa J. Wentz, Wahiduz Zaman, Ayman Al-Hendy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the expression and function of catechol-O-methyltransferase in human fetal membranes at term. Study Design: Fetal membranes obtained from women between 38-42 weeks of gestation, after (1) vaginal delivery with spontaneous labor and (2) prelabor elective cesarean section (no labor), were assayed for catechol-O-methyltransferase expression using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis, immunohistochemistry, and Western blot analysis. Prostaglandin E2 secretion from amnion and choriodecidua explants treated with or without catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitor was assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent analysis. Results: Amnion layer of fetal membranes from laboring women expressed significantly higher levels of catechol-O-methyltransferase, compared with those from women with no labor. Catechol-O-methyltransferase was higher in the amnion layer than in choriodecidua. Selective catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibition significantly decreased prostaglandin E2 production from fetal membranes. Conclusion: Labor increases catechol-O-methyltransferase expression in the amnion of human fetal membranes. Selective catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibition decreased prostaglandin E2 secretion in fetal explant cultures, suggesting a role for catechol-O-methyltransferase in human labor and delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496.e1-496.e7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • catechol-O-methyltrasferase
  • fetal membranes
  • term labor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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