Jeff Reese
Last active: 10/11/2017

In vivo Raman spectral analysis of impaired cervical remodeling in a mouse model of delayed parturition.

O'Brien CM, Herington JL, Brown N, Pence IJ, Paria BC, Slaughter JC, Reese J, Mahadevan-Jansen A
Sci Rep. 2017 7 (1): 6835

PMID: 28754971 · PMCID: PMC5533720 · DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-07047-5

Monitoring cervical structure and composition during pregnancy has high potential for prediction of preterm birth (PTB), a problem affecting 15 million newborns annually. We use in vivo Raman spectroscopy, a label-free, light-based method that provides a molecular fingerprint to non-invasively investigate normal and impaired cervical remodeling. Prostaglandins stimulate uterine contractions and are clinically used for cervical ripening during pregnancy. Deletion of cyclooxygenase-1 (Cox-1), an enzyme involved in production of these prostaglandins, results in delayed parturition in mice. Contrary to expectation, Cox-1 null mice displayed normal uterine contractility; therefore, this study sought to determine whether cervical changes could explain the parturition differences in Cox-1 null mice and gestation-matched wild type (WT) controls. Raman spectral changes related to extracellular matrix proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids were tracked over pregnancy and found to be significantly delayed in Cox-1 null mice at term. A cervical basis for the parturition delay was confirmed by other ex vivo tests including decreased tissue distensibility, hydration, and elevated progesterone levels in the Cox-1 null mice at term. In conclusion, in vivo Raman spectroscopy non-invasively detected abnormal remodeling in the Cox-1 null mouse, and clearly demonstrated that the cervix plays a key role in their delayed parturition.

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