Decreased myometrial p160 ROCK-1 expression in obese women at term pregnancy
M. O'Brien; S. Carbin; J. J. Morrison; T. J. Smith
Year of publication
Reprod Biol Endocrinol
BACKGROUND: Obesity is becoming an increasing problem in obstetric practice; it has led to an increase in the risk of caesarean delivery, prolonged pregnancy and dysfunctional labour. It has been postulated that many of these problems are as a result of abnormal myometrial contractility. The RhoA/Rho kinase pathway is involved in calcium sensitisation in the myometrium during labour and contributes to the phosphorylation of myosin phosphatase and thus continued myosin light chain activity, during uterine contractility. The aim of this study therefore, was to investigate the effect of obesity on the expression of various components of the RhoA/ROCK pathway in human myometrium at term pregnancy. METHODS: Protein was isolated from myometrial biopsies obtained at elective caesarean section, at term pregnancy from obese women and from those with a normal body mass index. Western blotting was performed using specific primary antibodies to RhoA/ Rho kinase associated proteins. RESULTS: The protein expression of p160 ROCK-1 was significantly decreased (P < 0.001) in the myometrium from women in the obese cohort (n = 22) at term pregnancy, compared to women of those of normal body mass index (n = 15). No alteration in expression of the other proteins investigated was noted. CONCLUSIONS: The significant decrease in p160 ROCK-1 protein expression observed in the myometrium of obese women at late gestation may contribute to an inhibitory effect on contractility at labour, due to its contribution to calcium sensitisation and possibly other signalling pathways. These findings are relevant to the concept of compromised myometrial function in obese parturients.