Origin of cervical collagenase during parturition

R. Osmers, W. Rath, B. C. Adelmann-Grill, C. Fittkow, M. Kuloczik, M. Szeverényi, H. Tschesche, W. Kuhn

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180 Scopus citations


Cervical biopsy specimens were obtained under standard conditions from the posterior lip of the uterine cervix in 105 patients. A significant increase of collagenase activity was observed during parturition as determined with an assay with iodine 125-labeled native triple-helical collagen type I as the substrate. The collagenase was not likely to originate from cervical fibroblasts because in situ hybridization failed to detect synthesis of the specific procollagenase messenger ribonucleic acid.However, migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes into the cervical stroma occurred on onset of labor, and an antibody specific for human leukocyte collagenase that did not cross react with fibroblast collagenase revealed the presence of the enzyme in the granules of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and subsequently in the extracellular matrix of the cervix. Therefore it is likely that the cells critically involved in collagen degradation during cervical dilatation are not resident fibroblasts but rather polymorphonuclear leukocytes emigrating from blood vessels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1455-1460
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • cervical dilatation
  • cervix
  • collagenase
  • parturition
  • Pregnancy


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