Objective: To investigate the content and distribution patterns of glycosaminoglycans in the human cervix during pregnancy and parturition.
Methods: We obtained a total of 87 specimens from nonpregnant and pregnant women. Biopsies (weight 50-200 mg) were taken from the posterior lip of the cervix. Hyaluronic acid, dermatan sulfate, chondroitin sulfates, and heparan sulfate were separated on a Dowex 1 x 2 column and identified.
Results: The total amount of glycosaminoglycans increased during pregnancy from 2800 to 5000 nmol/g dry weight. The highest values were observed at the onset of labor (7100 nmol/g dry weight), followed by a sharp decrease during parturition. The clinical features of cervical ripening and dilatation were also associated with remarkable changes in glycosaminoglycan patterns.
Conclusion: Besides collagenolysis during pregnancy, the glycosaminoglycans are also important regulators of cervical function. The different clinical features of the human cervix are characterized not only by variation in the total glycosaminoglycan content but also by changes in the proportions of the different glycosaminoglycans. (Obstet Gynecol 1993)81:88-92)
© 1993 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists