Multiple mechanisms involved in oxytocin-induced modulation of myometrial contractility

Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2006 Jul;27(7):827-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7254.2006.00393.x.


Oxytocin is a small peptide hormone with multiple sites of action in human body. It regulates a large number of reproduction-related processes in all species. Particularly important is its ability to stimulate uterine contractility. This is achieved by multiple mechanisms involving sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ release and sensitization of the contractile apparatus to Ca2+. In this paper, we review the data published by us and other groups on oxytocin-induced modulation of uterine contractility. We conclude that sensitization of contractile apparatus to Ca2+ is the most relevant physiological effect of oxytocin on human myometrium.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Myometrium / metabolism
  • Myometrium / physiology
  • Oxytocics / pharmacology*
  • Oxytocin / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Oxytocin / physiology
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Uterine Contraction / drug effects*
  • Uterine Contraction / metabolism


  • Oxytocics
  • Receptors, Oxytocin
  • Oxytocin
  • Calcium