Objective: To determine whether progesterone causes any changes in the action of oxytocin on the contractile activity of term human myometrium in vitro.
Methods: Myometrial biopsies from 13 term pregnant women undergoing cesarean delivery were immediately immersed in Hepes buffer or buffer containing 5 [mu]g/mL progesterone. In the laboratory under a stereomicroscope, the specimens were dissected into 1 x 7.5-mm muscle strips. These were mounted into six tissue baths and superfused with Hepes buffer and buffer containing 5 [mu]g/mL progesterone, 5 [mu]g/mL progesterone plus 10 mU/mL oxytocin, 5 [mu]g/mL progesterone plus 100 mU/mL oxytocin, 10 mU/mL oxytocin, and 100 mU/mL oxytocin. Isometric tension was recorded constantly for at least 3 hours.
Results: The frequency of myometrial contractions and tonus increased by superfusion with progesterone, progesterone plus oxytocin, and oxytocin alone compared to buffer. In addition, a gradual decrease in frequency was observed after 60 minutes of contractions with oxytocin alone, whereas progesterone plus oxytocin had no such decrease. The activity area of contractions was greater with 10 mU/mL oxytocin and decreased with progesterone, progesterone plus both concentrations of oxytocin, and 100 mU/mL oxytocin alone, compared to buffer.
Conclusion: Progesterone stimulated the frequency of contractions and tonus of strips from the lower uterine segment of term human myometrium. A lasting increase in the frequency of contractions was observed with superfusion of progesterone plus oxytocin, suggesting that progesterone counteracted the reaction of tachyphylaxis to oxytocin. (Obstet Gynecol 1993;82:532-8)
(C) 1993 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists