Biochemical Events in Cervical Ripening Dilatation during Pregnancy and Parturition

R. G.W. Osmers, B. C. Adelmann‐Grill, W. Rath, H. W. Stuhlsatz, H. Tschesche, W. Kuhn

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75 Scopus citations


In specimens taken from the posterior lip of the cervix uteri we determined the collagenase activity and the glycosaminoglycan concentration. In biopsies obtained from the lower uterine segment during cesarian section we measured cytokines (IL‐ 8, IL‐2, TNFα) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP‐8, MMP‐9). We found that the release of collagenases is critically involved in the process of cervical dilatation. The glycosaminoglycan concentration increases during pregnancy and shows remarkable changes of the distribution patterns of the different glycosaminoglycans. The parturition is characterized by a dramatic loss of most of the glycosaminoglycans. Furthermore, the IL‐8 shows a close correlation to the clinical feature of cervical ripening and is closely associated with the release of MMP‐8 and MMP‐9. Summarizing the process of cervical maturation and dilatation is a complex enzymatic controlled process with substantial remodelling of the cervical extracellular matrix. The cytokines IL‐8 seems to play an essential role in triggering the process of cervical dilatation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • cervix uteri
  • collagenases
  • cytokines
  • extracellular matrix
  • glycosaminoglycans
  • pregnancy


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