Progesterone, but not 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate, inhibits human myometrial contractions

Nicole K. Ruddock, Shao Qing Shi, Sangeeta Jain, Gradie Moore, Gary D.V. Hankins, Roberto Romero, Robert E. Garfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim was to determine whether progesterone (P4) or 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P) directly inhibit human uterine contractility in vitro and thereby clarify their mechanisms of action. Study Design: Myometrial tissues were suspended in organ chambers and exposed for 2 to 20 hours to varying concentrations of P4 or 17P or solvent. Contractile activity was registered, stored, and analyzed. Dose response curves were then generated for P4 or 17P at various times. Results: P4 significantly inhibited spontaneous contractility dose dependently. The inhibition was not blocked by RU486 but was reversible after washing. Surprisingly, 17P dose dependently stimulated contractility. HPLC and GC-MS methods were used to determine the detectable concentrations of progestins in the baths. Conclusion: P4, at concentrations equivalent to those present in the placenta and uterus, inhibit spontaneous myometrial contractility in vitro by nongenomic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391.e1-391.e7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate
  • myometrium
  • preterm labor
  • progesterone
  • uterine contractility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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