Glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) 3 in pregnancy and parturition: a systematic review of literature

Narmada Lavu, Lauren Richardson, Elizabeth Bonney, Ramkumar Menon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Multiple factors and pathways have been reported as critical machineries for cell differentiation and survival during pregnancy; a number of them involve glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) 3a/β. Several reports on GSK3's functional role exist; however, the specific role of GSK3 in reproductive tissues and its contribution to normal or abnormal parturition are still unclear. To fill this knowledge gap, a systematic review of literature was conducted to better understand the functional role of GSK3 in various intrauterine tissues during implantation, pregnancy, and parturition. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of literature on GSK3's expression and function reported between 1980 and 2017 in reproductive tissues during pregnancy using three electronic databases (Web of Science, Medline, and Study selection, data extraction, quality assessment and analyses were performed in duplicate by two independent reviewers. Results: A total of 738 citations were identified; 80 were selected for full text evaluation and 25 were included for final review. GSK3's regulation and function were mostly studied in tissues and cells from placentas (12), fetuses (8), uteruses (6), and ovaries (2). GSK3 is primarily reported as a downstream responder of protein kinase B (AKT)-, Wnt-, and reactive oxygen species (ROS)-related pathways where it plays a critical role in cell survival and growth in reproductive tissues. Conclusions: Though GSK3 has been functionally linked to a number of biological processes in reproductive tissues, it has primarily been studied as a secondary signaler of various conserved cell signaling pathways. Lack of scientific rigor in studying GSK3's role in reproductive tissues makes this molecule's function still obscure. No studies have reported GSK3 in the cervix, and very few reports exist in myometrium and decidua. This systematic review suggests more functional and mechanistic studies focusing on GSK3 need to be conducted in reproductive biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1946-1957
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2 2020


  • AKT
  • ROS
  • Wnt
  • cell cycle
  • fetal membranes
  • p38MAPK
  • phosphorylation
  • reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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