The effect of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) on the contractility of uterine segments taken from pregnant rats and the localization of PTHrP in the uterus during pregnancy were investigated. PTHrP(1-34) had a potent inhibitory effect on spontaneous contractions of the longitudinal layer of uterine myometrium taken from rats at day 4 of pregnancy (IC50 1.6 nmol l−1). In low calcium De Jalon's solution, it also decreased baseline tension IC50 1.5 nmol l−1) in a concentration-dependent manner. The effect of PTHrP(1-34) on uterine motility decreased as pregnancy progressed until day 13, after which PTHrP(1-34) had no measurable effect on uterine contractility. In contrast, PTHrP(1-34) had no effect on the contractions of the circular smooth muscle of the uterus at any stage of pregnancy. PTHrP(50-69) had no effect on the contractility of either muscle layer of the myometrium. A temporal pattern of staining for PTHrP in the uterus of pregnant rats was observed, and the changes in the staining patterns in the endometrium and myometrium were different in each layer. These data suggest that PTHrP may have at least two distinct roles in the uterus, a relaxing action on longitudinal muscle that depends on the hormonal state of the rat and a novel effect either intraluminally or within the endometrial layer.
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