Recombinant human lactoferrin has a potential to suppresses uterine cervical ripening in preterm delivery in animal model

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ObjectiveTo investigate the effect of recombinant human lactoferrin (rhLF) on cervical ripening using a rabbit model in which preterm labor was induced by bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS).Study designTimed pregnant rabbits (New Zealand White, 3-4 kg, day 14) were randomly assigned to the following treatment groups: Group A, LPS + rhLF (n = 4); Group B, LPS (n = 4); and Group C, control (n = 4). Recombinant human lactoferrin (10 μg) was administrated to pregnant rabbits in Group A and not in Group B. Lipopolysaccharide (100 μg) was given to the rabbits in both groups for 3 days (days14-16). Drugs were administered as a vaginal suppository. On day 18, the rabbits were anesthetized with intramuscular ketamine hydrochloride (20 mg/kg) and diazepam (4 mg/kg). Both cervices of the rabbit uterus, which is bicorpus-bicolli, were taken out. One cervix was placed in 10% formalin solution for a histological study with standard hematoxylin-eosin staining. The other was used for an extension test to assess the grade of ripening. Extension was measured after a 5-mm length of cervical tissue was loaded with 5.8 g.ResultsThe histological study showed remarkably loose and edematous connective tissue in Group B cervices. Cervical tissues in Group A was not different from those in Group C. Extension lengths were 2.2 ± 0.2 mm in Group A, 7.0 ± 2.7 mm in Group B, and 1.7 ± 0.3 mm in Group C.ConclusionThese results suggest that rhLF inhibits cervical maturation induced by LPS in a rabbit model and may have a potential to prevent preterm delivery caused by cervical infection and ripening.

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