The effects of pregnancy and smooth muscle contractility on cervical distensibility in the rat

Yuri P. Vedernikov, Mark Mayes, Elizabeth Moore, Alfredo Gei, George R. Saade, Robert E. Garfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: We sought to compare distensibility of the isolated rat cervix from nonpregnant rats (n = 6), rats at midgestation (n = 5), and rats at term gestation (n = 4). STUDY DESIGN: The cervix was excised, and one cervical channel was cannulated from both ends and positioned in the organ chamber for perfusion-superfusion by a peristaltic pump at an intraluminal pressure of 30 mm Hg for 30 minutes. After the equilibration period, perfusion was stopped, the outlet was closed, and the cervix was inflated with a syringe pump. The volume was increased at a rate of 3.33 μL/s until intraluminal pressure reached approximately 120 mm Hg. The outlet was then opened, and the cervix was perfused at 30 mm Hg of intraluminal pressure for another 30 minutes. The volume-pressure relationships were obtained 3 times without any agent present and in the presence of 60-mmol/L potassium chloride or 10-4-mol/L 3-morpholinosydnonimine hydrochloride (also known as SIN-1). RESULTS: The volume-pressure relationship was shifted to the right during progression of pregnancy, demonstrating increased compliance of the cervix. The nonspecific depolarizing agent potassium chloride or the nitric oxide donor 3-morpholinosydnonimine did not affect volume-pressure relationships in cervices from nonpregnant rats, rats at midgestation, or rats at term gestation. CONCLUSION: The volume-pressure relationship in the isolated cannulated rat cervix reflects the resistance of the organ to increased intraluminal pressure. The compliance of the cervix is increased as pregnancy progresses, demonstrating decreased resistance to stretch. Activation or inhibition of cervical smooth muscle does not contribute to the physical properties of the cervix, which controls compliance-resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-908
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Distensibility
  • Pregnancy
  • Rat uterine cervix

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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