Changes in the biochemical constituents and morphologic appearance of the human cervical stroma during pregnancy

Myers, Kristin M.; Socrate, Simona; Tzeranis, Dimitrios; House, Michael

Objective: The cervix is the lower portion of the uterus. It is composed of fibrous tissue and its mechanical integrity is crucial for maintaining a healthy gestation. During normal pregnancy, the cervical extracellular matrix (ECM) remodels in preparation for labor. The objective of this study was to investigate the biochemical and morphological changes in cervical stroma associated with physiological remodeling during normal pregnancy. Study design: Using human cervical tissue obtained from pregnant and non-pregnant patients, the ECM was analyzed for its biochemical constituents and histologic morphology. The ECM was assayed for hydration, collagen concentration, collagen solubility, total sulfated glycosaminoglycan concentration, and individual disaccharide concentration. The ECM morphology was visualized using conventional histological techniques (Masson's trichrome stain, polarized light microscopy) as well as second harmonic generation (SHG) imaging. Results: When comparing pregnant to non-pregnant tissue, significant increases were measured for total sulfated glycosaminoglycans, hyaluronic acid, and collagen solubility. The microscopy studies confirmed that the collagenous network of the cervical stroma was anisotropic and pregnancy was associated with a discernable decrease in collagen organization. Conclusion: Significant changes were seen in the concentration and organization of cervical ECM constituents during normal pregnancy.


Also Published In

European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology

More About This Work

Academic Units
Mechanical Engineering
Published Here
March 19, 2012