Expression of Nitric Oxide Synthase and Endothelin-1 in Human Uterine Artery from Full-Term Pregnancies

  • Choi, Ook-Hwan (Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, Pusan National University) ;
  • Lee, Sun-Hee (Departments of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Pusan National University) ;
  • Kim, Eun-Jin (Departments of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Pusan National University) ;
  • Kim, Koan-Hoi (Departments of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Pusan National University) ;
  • Rhim, Byung-Yong (Departments of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Pusan National University)
  • Published : 2005.06.21


The aim of this study was to determine the roles of ET-1 and NO on uterine blood flow in pregnancy. Uterine arteries were isolated from 17 nonpregnant and 12 pregnant women. Nonpregnant group included patients with median age of $48.6{\pm}2.3$ years who underwent hysterectomy, because of myoma. Pregnant group included patients with median age of $31.3{\pm}1.4$ years undergoing cesarean delivery. ET-1 and ET-2 induced concentration-dependent contraction in isolated nonpregnant and pregnant uterine arteries. The contractile response and maximal contraction were increased in pregnant uterine arteries. In nonpregnant uterine arteries, there was no contraction in response to ET-3, whereas pregnancy induced concentration-dependent contraction by ET-3. Tissue nitrite/nitrate level and immunohistochemical staining of eNOS and iNOS were increased in pregnant uterine arteries, compared with nonpregnant uterine arteries. In addition, the expressions of eNOS and iNOS mRNA were significantly increased in pregnancy. Moreover, contractions by ET isopeptides, including ET-1, were enhanced, and immunohistochemical staining of ET-1 and ET-1 mRNA expression was increased in pregnant uterine arteries. These results suggest that NO production by increased NOS activity, especially eNOS activity, is related to placental and uterine blood flow. Furthermore, ET-1 appears to play a pathophysiological role in pregnant complications such as hypertension.


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