Inhibitory effect of leptin on human uterine contractility in vitro

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006 Aug;195(2):504-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2006.01.106. Epub 2006 May 2.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of leptin on human uterine contractility in vitro.

Study design: Biopsies of human myometrium were obtained at elective cesarean section (n = 18). Dissected myometrial strips suspended under isometric conditions, undergoing spontaneous and oxytocin-induced contractions, were exposed to cumulative additions of leptin in the concentration range of 1 nmol/L to 1 micromol/L. Control strips were run simultaneously. Integrals of contractile activity were measured using the PowerLab hardware unit and Chart v3.6 software.

Results: Leptin exerted a potent and cumulative inhibitory effect on spontaneous and oxytocin-induced contractions compared to control strips. The mean maximal inhibition values were as follows: 46.794 +/- 5.133% (n = 6; P < .001) for spontaneous contractions and 42.323 +/- 3.692% (n = 6; P < .001) for oxytocin-induced contractions. There was an apparent reduction in both frequency and amplitude of contractions.

Conclusion: This physiologic inhibitory effect of leptin on uterine contractility may play a role in the dysfunctional labor process associated with maternal obesity, and the resultant high cesarean section rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cesarean Section
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Labor, Obstetric / physiology
  • Leptin / pharmacology*
  • Leptin / physiology
  • Myometrium / drug effects*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology
  • Uterine Contraction / drug effects*
  • Uterine Contraction / physiology


  • Leptin