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Since the controversies regarding the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and selective cyclo-oxygenase (COX)-2 antagonists for the treatment of preterm labour (PTL), more emphasis has been placed on investigating the terminal synthases involved in the production of prostaglandins (PGs) to allow more targeted therapy in PTL. Prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) is synthesized by one of three enzymes, cytosolic prostaglandin E synthase (cPGES), microsomal PGES-1 (mPGES-1) and microsomal PGES-2 (mPGES-2). We have determined (i) the immuno-localization of all three PGES enzymes in lower segment pregnant human myometrium, (ii) the expression of PGES and COX-2 mRNA expression at term and preterm gestation with and without labour and (iii) the effect of interleukin (IL)-1beta on COX-2 and PGES mRNA and protein expression in human myometrial smooth muscle (HMSM) cell cultures. We show mPGES-1 protein located predominantly in myometrial and vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs), whilst mPGES-2 protein is largely in stromal cells surrounding the SMC and cPGES is diffusely located throughout the myometrium. Expression of mPGES-2 mRNA increased with term labour and PTL and expression of COX-2 and mPGES-1 mRNA with term labour, whereas cPGES expression did not change. IL-1beta stimulated release of PGE(2) by HMSM cells and increased COX-2 and mPGES-1 mRNA and protein expression. Thus, COX-2 expression and mPGES-1 expression are co-ordinately up-regulated in lower segment myometrium with term labour and with IL-1beta treatment in HMSM cells.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Hum Reprod

Publication Date





69 - 75


Cells, Cultured, Cyclooxygenase 2, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Interleukin-1beta, Intramolecular Oxidoreductases, Isoenzymes, Labor, Obstetric, Membrane Proteins, Myometrium, Pregnancy, Prostaglandin-E Synthases