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The Role of Smooth Muscle Cells in the Pathophysiology of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Mei, Shanshan MD*; Ye, Ming MD*; Gil, Laura BS; Zhang, Jianping MD; Zhang, Yanping PhD§; Candiotti, Keith MD§; Takacs, Peter MD, PhD

Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: September/October 2013 - Volume 19 - Issue 5 - p 254–259
doi: 10.1097/SPV.0b013e31829ff74d
Review Articles

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a prevalent and disabling condition. The pathophysiology of prolapse is multifactorial, and no single mechanism adequately explains all aspects of its development. The pathophysiology of POP is complex and incompletely understood. Smooth muscle (SM), an integral part of the vaginal wall and endopelvic structures that support the pelvic viscera, has also been implicated in the pathophysiology of POP. In this article, we review the role of smooth muscle cells (SMC) in the pathophysiology of POP, also addressing the anatomy of SM in pelvic floor, morphometric analysis, biomechanical properties, and potential mechanisms.

Alterations in smooth muscle cell morphology and function may participate in the pathogenesis of pelvic organ prolapse.

From the *Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Guangzhou Women and Children’s Medical Center, Guangzhou, China; †University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; ‡Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Second Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China; §Department of Anesthesiology, and ∥Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL.

Reprints: Peter Takacs, MD, PhD, Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (D-50), University of Miami, Miami, FL. E-mail:

The authors have declared they have no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins