Progesterone interactions with the cervix: Translational implications for term and preterm birth

Bryan Larsen, Joseph Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

The uterine cervix plays a vital role in maintaining pregnancy and an equally important role in allowing parturition to occur. Progesterone, either endogenously produced or SUPPL.ied exogenously, supports the function of the cervix in sustaining intrauterine pregnancy, and the withdrawal of progesterone, either through natural processes or pharmacologic intervention, leads to delivery which underscores the importance of the progesterone's biological activities manifest in normal gestation and pregnancy that ends prematurely. Research crossing many scientific disciplines has demonstrated that progesterone is a pleotropic compound that affects the cervix through cytoplasmic and membrane receptors with profound effects on cellular and molecular functions that influence inflammatory cascades and extracellular matrix, both of which have consequences for parturition. Beyond the local cell and molecular biology of progesterone, it has systemic effects of relevance to pregnancy as well. This paper examines the biology of the cervix from its gross to cellular structure and biological activities of its cell and molecular processes that may be affected by progesterone. The implications of these processes for preterm birth are explored, and direction of current research is in relation to translational medicine implications for diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic approaches to threatened preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number353297
JournalInfectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume2011
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

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