Efficacy of the selective prostaglandin synthase type 2 inhibitor nimesulide in blocking basal prostaglandin production and delaying glucocorticoid-induced premature labor in sheep

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The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of selective prostaglandin synthase type 2 inhibitors on basal prostaglandin concentrations in the fetal and maternal circulations and on the labor-associated increase in prostaglandin production in sheep.


The effects of maternal nimesulide (0.01, 0.1, and 1 mg/kg) and 6-methoxy-2-naphthylacetic acid (1, 5, and 10 mg/kg) administration were examined (n = 5) at 134 +/- 1 days' gestation. At 138 days' gestation premature labor was induced by fetal dexamethasone infusion (1 mg/d). Ewes were treated with either vehicle or nimesulide infusion (20 mg [middle dot] d-1 [middle dot] kg-1, n = 5 per group).


Nimesulide and 6-methoxy-2-naphthylacetic acid decreased basal prostaglandin production in a concentration-dependent manner. Delivery of nimesulide-treated ewes was delayed by >or=to17 hours with respect to that of control ewes (53.9 +/- 2.6 hours). In 2 nimesulide-treated ewes labor did not progress to delivery despite membrane rupture. The increase in prostaglandin concentrations usually seen during dexamethasone-induced labor was abolished in nimesulide-treated ewes and also in their fetuses.


Highly selective inhibitors of prostaglandin endoperoxidase H synthase 2 may be required to spare fetal prostaglandin production and limit potential side effects during the suppression of preterm labor. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1999;180:1244-53.)

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