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The importance of fibroblasts in remodeling of the human uterine cervix during pregnancy and parturition

Citation Malmstrom, Erik; Sennstrom, Maria; Holmberg, Anna; Frielingsdorf, Helena; Eklund, Erik; Malmstrom, Lars; Tufvesson, Ellen; Gomez, Maria; Westergren-Thorsson, Gunilla; Ekman-Ordeberg, Gunvor; Malmstrom, Anders; The importance of fibroblasts in remodelling of the human uterine cervix during pregnancy and parturition. Mol Hum Reprod (2007), 13: 333-41.
Abstract It is well established that fibroblasts play a crucial role in pathophysiological extracellular matrix remodeling. The aim of this project is to elucidate their role in normal physiological remodeling. Specifically, the remodeling of the human cervix during pregnancy, resulting in an enabled passage of the child, is used as the model system. Fibroblast cultures were established from cervices of non-pregnant women, women after 36 weeks of pregnancy and women directly after partus. The cells were immunostained and quantified by western blots for differentiation markers. The cultures were screened for cytokine and metalloproteinase production and characterized by global proteome analysis. The cell cultures established from partal donors differ significantly from those from non-pregnant donors, which is in accordance with in vivo findings. A decrease in alpha-smooth actin and prolyl-4-hydroxylase and an increase in interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8 and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-1 and MMP-3 were observed in cultures from partal donors. 2D-gel electrophoresis followed by mass spectrometry showed that the expression of 59 proteins was changed significantly in cultures of partal donors. The regulated proteins are involved in protein kinase C signalling, Ca2+ binding, cytoskeletal organization, angiogenesis and degradation. Our data suggest that remodeling of the human cervix is orchestrated by fibroblasts, which are activated or recruited by the inflammatory processes occurring during the ripening cascade.
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