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Alexandre Fouchet, Harlyne Mpweme Bangando, Margaux Aize, Christophe Simard, and Romain Guinamard

Control of uterine contractions is of interest in the context of inappropriate myometrial activity during pregnancy and at time of delivery but it is also a matter for menstrual pain. While several molecular determinants of myometrial contractions have been described, the complete distribution of roles to the various actors is far from being understood. A key phenomenon is a variation in cytoplasmic Ca2+ which leads, in smooth muscle, to the activation of calmodulin and lastly in the phosphorylation of myosin allowing contraction. The Ca2+-activated transient receptor potential melastatin 4 (TRPM4) channel which is known to modulate Ca2+-fluxes in several cell types was shown to participate in vascular as well as detrusor muscle contraction. We thus designed a study to determine whether it also participates in myometrial contraction.

Uterine rings were isolated from Trpm4+/+ and Trpm4-/- non-pregnant adult mice and contractions were recorded using an isometric force transducer.

In basal conditions, spontaneous contractions were similar in both groups. Application of 9-phenanthrol, a pharmacological TRPM4 inhibitor, dose-dependently reduced contraction parameters in Trpm4+/+ rings with an IC50 around 2.10-6 mol.L-1. The effect of 9-phenanthrol was significantly reduced in Trpm4-/- rings. The effect of oxytocin was tested and was found to be stronger in Trpm4+/+ rings compared to Trpm4-/-. Under a constant stimulation by oxytocin, 9-phenanthrol still reduced contraction parameters in Trpm4+/+ rings with a smaller effect on Trpm4-/-.

Altogether it indicates that TRPM4 participates in uterine contractions in mice and may thus be evaluated as a new target to control such contractions.