Research ArticlePRETERM LABOR

The transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 channel modulates uterine tone during pregnancy

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Science Translational Medicine  23 Dec 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 319, pp. 319ra204
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad0376

TRPing up preterm labor

The biology of preterm labor, the leading cause of perinatal complications and deaths worldwide, is not yet well understood, and there is no effective treatment. Ying et al. have now uncovered the role of a calcium channel called TRPV4 (transient receptor potential vanilloid 4) in uterine contractility. The amount of TRPV4 gradually increases throughout gestation, explaining its ability to facilitate uterine contractions at term despite maintaining uterine quiescence earlier in pregnancy. The authors also demonstrated that blocking TRPV4 successfully prolonged pregnancy in two mouse models of preterm labor, suggesting that it may be a viable target for interventions to treat preterm labor in human patients.

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