The effects of cervical application of inhibitors of inducible nitric oxide synthase, cyclooxygenase-1, and cyclooxygenase-2 on delivery in rats

Radoslaw Bukowski, Lynn McKay, Shao Qing Shi, George R. Saade, Robert E. Garfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of cervical application of nonselective and selective inhibitors of nitric oxide synthases - N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, L-N-iminoethyl-lysine, and aminoguanidine - as well as inhibitors of cyclooxygenases - indomethacin, and nimesulide - on timing of delivery and fetal death and disease in pregnant rats. STUDY DESIGN: In a series of experimental protocols, timed-pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats (length of pregnancy, 22 days) were randomly allocated to daily cervical applications of (1) 0.04 mg (n = 6), 0.4 mg (n = 6), 4 mg (n = 6), or 40 mg (n = 6) L-N-iminoethyl-lysine or vehicle (n = 12) on days 19 to 22 of pregnancy; (2) 50 mg aminoguanidine (n = 6), 150 mg aminoguanidine (n = 6), or vehicle (n = 10) on days 19 to 22 of pregnancy; (3) 3 mg indomethacin (n = 6) or vehicle (n = 6) on days 19 to 22 of pregnancy; (4) 12.5 mg/kg nimesulide (n = 8), 25 mg/kg nimesulide (n = 8), 50 mg/kg nimesulide (n = 12), or vehicle (n = 12) on days 19 to 22 of pregnancy and 50 mg/kg nimesulide (n = 23) or vehicle (n = 23) on days 14 to 22 of pregnancy; (5) 50 mg/kg nimesulide (n = 10), 50 mg aminoguanidine plus 50 mg/kg nimesulide (n = 10), 50 mg aminoguanidine (n = 10), or vehicle (n = 10) on days 14 to 22 of pregnancy. The following variables were evaluated: proportion of animals that were delivered on day 23, time to delivery of the first pup (midnight on day 22 was considered to be 0 hour), number of stillborn pups, and average pup weight of each litter. RESULTS: Unlike L-N-iminoethyl-lysine, aminoguanidine, and indomethacin, 50 mg/kg nimesulide applied on the cervix daily for 8 days significantly increased the proportion of animals that were delivered on day 23 (18 of 23 versus 7 of 23; P = .003) and the time to delivery of the first pup by a mean of 10.8 hours (P < .001). Shorter treatment with nimesulide for 4 days increased only the time to delivery of the first pup at the 25-mg/kg dosage (P = .008). Simultaneous application of aminoguanidine and nimesulide significantly (P = .008) prolonged pregnancy to a degree similar to nimesulide alone. The experiment with N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester was aborted because of severe maternal side effects. Unlike pups in the L-N-iminoethyl-lysine, aminoguanidine, and nimesulide groups, significantly more pups in the indomethacin group died in utero compared with the control group (36.1% versus 3.1%; P < .001), and the surviving pups had lower birth weights (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: In an animal model, nimesulide was effective in delaying the onset of labor, was well tolerated during pregnancy, and affected cervical ripening directly independent of progesterone withdrawal. Conversely, cervical application of nitric oxide synthase and nonselective cyclooxygenase inhibitors do not extend the duration of pregnancy in the dosages studied, and some are associated with significant adverse effects in the mothers and fetuses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-965
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001



  • Cervical ripening
  • Cyclooxygenase inhibitor
  • Inhibition
  • Nitric oxide synthase inhibitor
  • Preterm delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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