Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone Interacts With Interleukin-1β to Regulate Prostaglandin H Synthase-2 Expression in Human Myometrium During Pregnancy and Labor

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The onset of labor appears to involve the activation of myometrial inflammatory pathways, and transcription factors such as nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) control expression of the contraction-associated proteins required to induce a procontractile phenotype. These responses might involve CRH, which integrates immune and neuroendocrine systems.


In human myometrium we investigated cyclooxygenase 2 (PGHS2) expression and regulation by CRH and the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β before and after labor.


Myometrial tissues obtained from pregnant women at term before (n = 12) or during labor (n = 10) and pathological cases of choriamnionitis-associated term labor (n = 5) were used to isolate primary myocytes and investigate in vitro, CRH effects on basal and IL-1β regulated p65 activation and PGHS2 expression.


In nonlaboring myometrial cells, CRH was unable to induce NF-κB nuclear translocation; however, it altered the temporal dynamics of IL-1β-driven NF-κB nuclear entry by initially delaying entry and subsequently prolonging retention. These CRH-R1-driven effects were associated with a modest inhibitory action in the early phase (within 2 hours) of IL-1β stimulated PGHS2 mRNA expression, whereas prolonged stimulation for 6–18 hours augmented the IL-1β effects. The early-phase effect required intact protein kinase A activity and was diminished after the onset of labor. The presence of chorioamnionitis led to exaggerated PGHS2 mRNA responses to IL-1β but diminished effects of CRH.


CRH is involved in the inflammatory regulation of PGHS2 expression before and during labor; these actions might be important in priming and preparing the myometrium for labor and cellular adaptive responses to inflammatory mediators.

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