Objective: The small guanosine triphosphatase RhoA/Rho-kinase cascade has been implicated in uterine contraction. Our purpose was to evaluate the tocolytic effect of a Rho-kinase inhibitor, Y-27632, in lipopolysaccharide-induced preterm delivery in mice.
Study design: We used an animal model of lipopolysaccharide-induced preterm delivery in C3H/HeN x B6D2F1 pregnant mice. Y-27632 was delivered continuously through an osmotic pump that was implanted into the peritoneal cavity 6 hours before lipopolysaccharide treatment. The primary outcome was the preterm delivery rate. To further study the possible involvement of this cascade in lipopolysaccharide-induced preterm delivery, we determined the effect of lipopolysaccharide and prostaglandin F2alpha on RhoA activation in mouse myometrial cells and uterine smooth muscle tissues.
Results: The rate of preterm delivery for lipopolysaccharide-treated animals was 94.4%. The administration of Y-27632 (1 or 10 mg/kg/d) significantly reduced the preterm delivery rate to 61.1% or 15.8%, respectively. The level of guanosine triphosphate-bound RhoA was increased after the addition of lipopolysaccharide or prostaglandin F2alpha.
Conclusion: The RhoA/Rho-kinase cascade is involved in lipopolysaccharide-induced preterm delivery, which suggests that Rho-kinase could be used as a new therapeutic target for the prevention of preterm labor.