Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) gene expression and/or immunoreactive protein have previously been identified in the uterus and intrauterine gestational tissues. The putative roles of PTHrP during pregnancy include vasodilatation, regulation of placental calcium transfer, uterine smooth muscle relaxation and normal fetal development. The aims of this study were 1) to determined the tissue-specific and temporal expression of PTHrP mRNA and immunoreactive protein in human gestational tissues collected at preterm and term; and 2) to determine the effect of labour of PTHrP expression by collecting these tissues from women undergoing elective caesarean section (before labour), intra-partum caesarean section during spontaneous-onset labour (during labour), and women with spontaneous labour and normal vaginal delivery (after labour). Total RNA and protein were extracted from placenta, amnion (over placenta and reflected) and choriodecidua for analysis by Northern blot (using a specific human PTHrP cDNA probe), and by N-terminal PTHrP RIA respectively. In amnion over placenta, reflected amnion and choriodecidua both PTHrP mRNA relative abundance and immunoreactive protein were significantly elevated at term compared with preterm (P<0.01). At term, both PTHrP and its mRNA were significantly greater in amnion than in placenta and choriodecidua (P<0.05). Also, both PTHrP and its mRNA were significantly elevated in amnion over placenta compared with reflected amnion (P<0.05). The expression of PTHrP and its mRNA did not change in association with term labour or rupture of the fetal membranes, therefore this study provides no evidence for a specific PTHrP role in the onset and/or maintenance of term labour. However, the significant up-regulation of PTHrP mRNA and protein in the fetal membranes at term compared with preterm suggests an important role in late human pregnancy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism