Gap junction formation and regulation in myometrium
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Myometrial tissues from pregnant rats were examined by electron microscopy for the presence of gap junctions after incubation in vitro with a variety of agents. Gap junctions were present in low frequency or absent prior to incubation in vitro. The junctions were present in control tissues in high frequency after 48 h incubation. The addition of cycloheximide or actinomycin D inhibited the incorporation of [3H]leucine into TCA-precipitable proteins and prevented gap junction formation. A prostacyclin analog (carbacyclin), a thromboxane synthesis inhibitor, and indomethacin also prevented gap junction formation. Oxytocin had no effect on gap junction formation but isoxsuprine decreased their number and increased their size. Isoxsuprine and isoproterenol also produced electron opaque crystals associated with the gap junctions. Dibutyryl cAMP treatment but not monobutyryl cGMP also increased the size of gap junctions. Based upon this and previous studies, we propose at least four sites for regulation of gap junctions and possible control of labor.
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