Interleukin-1β down-regulates the oxytocin receptor in cultured uterine smooth muscle cells

Phillip N. Rauk, Ulrike Friebe-Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


PROBLEM: Intrauterine infection accounts for 20% of preterm labor and results in the production of decidual inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-1 (IL-1). The oxytocin receptor plays a key role in the onset of preterm labor. Cytokines likely regulate oxytocin receptor expression through several cytokine-induced DNA-binding proteins. METHOD OF STUDY: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of the IL-1 alone on oxytocin receptor number as measured by radioligand binding and immunocytochemistry, and oxytocin receptor mRNA as measured by reverse transriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in cultured uterine myocytes. RESULTS: Unexpectedly, IL-1 treatment decreased oxytocin receptor number from 111,067 to 23,941 receptors/cell. Loss of oxytocin receptor binding began after 8 hr of IL-1 treatment and was reversible after IL-1 removal. Immunocytochemistry confirmed a loss of cellular oxytocin receptors. Oxytocin receptor mRNA decreased beginning after 2 hr of IL-1 treatment. CONCLUSIONS: IL-1 down-regulates the uterine oxytocin receptor in a time- and dose-dependent fashion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Reproductive Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000


  • Human uterus
  • Interleukin-1β
  • Oxytocin receptor


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