Investigating the expression of matrix metalloproteinases and heat shock proteins in postpartum uterine involution

L.E. Burton, R.S. Oldham, C.A. Higgins, R.J.B. Nibbs, S.M. Nelson, F.M. Menzies

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract


    Following labour, the uterus rapidly returns to its pre-pregnancy state in a dynamic process known as postpartum uterine involution. Exact mechanisms underlying labour and postpartum involution are not fully understood but inflammation is understood to play a key role. It has been hypothesised that rather than initiating or propagating labour, inflammation may prime the uterus for extensive postpartum tissue repair and remodelling, in a manner akin to repair in exercising skeletal muscle. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and heat shock proteins (HSPs) are known to play a role in skeletal muscle remodelling after injury. Little is known about their role in the postpartum myometrium, and this study aims to examine the expression of mRNA for MMPs (MMP2, MMP8, MMP9) and HSPs (HSP70, HSP27, HSP60, HSP90) in the postpartum mouse uterus.
    MethodsUterine tissues of C57BL/6 mice were collected at Day 1 (n¼5), 4 (n¼6) and 7 (n¼5) postpartum. Virgin females (proestrous stage) were used as non-pregnant controls (n¼5). mRNA expression was determined by qRT-PCR. Differences were analysed by Kruskal–Wallis test, followed by Dunn’s Multiple Comparison Test.
    ResultsA three-fold increase in expression of Hspb1 (HSP27) at Day 7 postpartum (p¼0.04) and Mmp8 at Day 4 postpartum (p¼0.03) compared to non-pregnant samples was found. Expression of all other genes examined
    remained unchanged throughout the postpartum period.

    ConclusionHSP27 and MMP8 may have a role in postpartum uterine involution. This study provides a foundation for future research into the potential role of these proteins during the physiological process of uterine involution
    and muscle damage repair and remodelling.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)E34-E34
    Number of pages1
    JournalScottish Medical Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2014


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