Protein content and myosin light chain phosphorylation in uterine arteries during pregnancy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


During pregnancy, the ovine uterine artery changes from a low-to a high-stress artery. We investigated the hypotheses that the increased stress reflects alterations in vessel wall cellularity, smooth muscle cell contractile protein contents, or activation properties. Uterine artery diameter increased during pregnancy, whereas the fractional cellular composition and thickness of the muscularis were unchanged. Results of morphometry suggest that vessel growth is associated with cell elongation. Uterine arteries from pregnant ewes had greater protein contents than those from nonpregnant ewes (104 vs. 69 mg/g, respectively); there were corresponding increases in the absolute cellular contents of actin and myosin. While the fraction of light chain phosphorylated in response to phenylephrine was unaltered, the total amount of myosin light chain phosphorylated per gram wet weight increased significantly during pregnancy. In addition, the distribution of myosin heavy chain isoforms was also altered during pregnancy. The increased stress observed in the uterine during ovine pregnancy reflects, in part, increases in cellular contractile protein concentrations associated with hypertrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C484-C489
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number3 28-3
StatePublished - 1990


  • Actin
  • Contractile proteins
  • Morphometry
  • Myosin heavy chain isoforms
  • Smooth muscle growth
  • Vascular smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Protein content and myosin light chain phosphorylation in uterine arteries during pregnancy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this