Collagen and elastic fiber remodeling in the pregnant mouse myometrium

Alexis Ouellette, Mala Mahendroo, Shanmugasundaram Nallasamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The myometrium undergoes progressive tissue remodeling from early to late pregnancy to support fetal growth and transitions to the contractile phase to deliver a baby at term. Much of our effort has been focused on understanding the functional role of myometrial smooth muscle cells, but the role of extracellular matrix is not clear. This study was aimed to demonstrate the expression profile of sub-sets of genes involved in the synthesis, processing, and assembly of collagen and elastic fibers, their structural remodeling during pregnancy, and hormonal regulation. Myometrial tissues were isolated from non-pregnant and pregnant mice to analyze gene expression and protein levels of components of collagen and elastic fibers. Second harmonic generation imaging was used to examine the morphology of collagen and elastic fibers. Gene and protein expressions of collagen and elastin were induced very early in pregnancy. Further, the gene expressions of some of the factors involved in the synthesis, processing, and assembly of collagen and elastic fibers were differentially expressed in the pregnant mouse myometrium. Our imaging analysis demonstrated that the collagen and elastic fibers undergo structural reorganization from early to late pregnancy. Collagen and elastin were differentially induced in response to estrogen and progesterone in the myometrium of ovariectomized mice. Collagen was induced by both estrogen and progesterone. By contrast, estrogen induced elastin, but progesterone suppressed its expression. The current study suggests progressive extracellular matrix remodeling and its potential role in the myometrial tissue mechanical function during pregnancy and parturition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-751
Number of pages11
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


  • collagen
  • elastic fibers
  • extracellular matrix
  • myometrium
  • steroid hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine


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