Substance P In The Uterine Cervix, Dorsal Root Ganglia And Spinal Cord During Pregnancy And The Effect Of Estrogen On SP Synthesis

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dr.. Chishimba Nathan Mowa, Associate Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Prior to parturition the non-pliable uterine cervix undergoes a ripening process (“softens” and dilates) to allow a timely passage of the fetus at term. The exact mechanism(s) triggering and involved in cervical ripening are unknown, though evidence for a role for sensory neurons and their contained neuropeptides is emerging. Moreover, an apparent increase in neuropeptide immunoreactive nerves occurs in the cervix during pregnancy, maternal serum estrogen levels rise at term and uterine cervix-related L6-S1 dorsal root ganglia (DRG) sensory neurons express estrogen receptor (ER) and neuropeptides. Thus, we sought to test the hypothesis that the neuropeptide substance P (SP) changes biosynthesis and release over pregnancy, that estrogen, acting via the ER pathway, increases synthesis of SP in DRG, and that SP is utilized in cervical ripening at late pregnancy. Using immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR) and radioimmunoassay (RIA), we investigated coexpression of ER-G/13 and SP; differential expression of ER-G and -13 mRNA in DRG neurons; SP synthesis in DRG; and changes in SP concentration in the cervix, DRG and spinal cord over pregnancy. In addition, the effect of exogenous estrogen on SP synthesis in L6-S1 DRG of ovariectomized rats was examined. SP-immunoreactive neurons expressed ER-G and ER-13. SP synthesis (expressed as 13-PPT mRNA label) was prominent in small DRG neurons. SP concentration increased in the L6-S1 DRG and spinal cord segments, with a peak at Day 20 of gestation, but decreased in the cervix during the first two trimesters, with a rise over the last trimester to Day 10 levels. SP and ER-G mRNA synthesis increased in DRG over pregnancy but ER-13 mRNA levels were largely unchanged. When ovariectomized rats were treated with exogenous estrogen, SP mRNA synthesis in the DRG increased in a dose-related manner, an effect blocked by ER blocker ICI 182 780. From these results, we postulate that synthesis of SP in L6-S1 DRG and utilization in the cervix increase over pregnancy and this synthesis is under influence of the estrogen–ER system, most likely ER-G. We postulate that SP may play a role in cervical ripening and, consequently in the birth process.

Additional Information

C.N. Mowa, S.Usip, M. Storey-Workley, R. Amann, R. Papka (2003) "Substance P In The Uterine Cervix, Dorsal Root Ganglia And Spinal Cord During Pregnancy And The Effect Of Estrogen On SP Synthesis" Peptides volume 24 pg. 761-771 [DOI:10.1016/S0196-9781(03)00120-7] Version of Record Available @
Language: English
Date: 2003
parturition, estrogen, estrogen receptor, sensory neurons, neurogenic inflammation, pregnant rat

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