Changes in PGRMC1, a potential progesterone receptor, in human myometrium during pregnancy and labour at term and preterm

Mol Hum Reprod. 2011 Apr;17(4):233-42. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gaq096. Epub 2010 Dec 2.


This study assesses the role of progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1) in actions of progesterone (P4) on human myometrium during pregnancy and labour. Myometrial tissues were obtained from non-pregnant patients during hysterectomy or pregnant women undergoing C-section at term and preterm, before and during labour. PGRMC1 expression in myometrial tissues and in a human myometrial cell line (HM9) was assessed by western blots and RT-PCR. The subcellular localization of PGRMC1 in HM9 was performed by immunofluorescence staining. Isometric contractions of myometrial tissues were obtained in response to P4 with and without addition of specific antibodies against PGRMC1. Endogenous and over-expressed PGRMC1 proteins are detected by western blots in myometrial tissues, HM9 and 293 cells, respectively. PGRMC1 is localized to the plasma membrane, cytoplasm and nuclear membranes. PGRMC1 is lower in myometrium of women at term either not in labour (P = 0.004) or in labour (P = 0.005) compared with tissues from women in preterm non-labour. PGRMC1 levels are also decreased (P = 0.02) in myometrial tissues from women during preterm labour compared with preterm non-labour. P4 rapidly inhibits contractions of myometrial tissues compared with control (P < 0.05) in vitro. Pretreatment of myometrial strips with PGRMC1 antibody, suppresses the P4-induced relaxation (P < 0.05). PGRMC1 may mediate the non-genomic action of P4 and the relaxation effect on human myometrium during pregnancy. A decrease in PGRMC1 during term or preterm labour might contribute to the 'functional withdrawal' of P4 action and shift the balance to a state of heightened uterine contractility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Myometrium / metabolism*
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy*
  • Receptors, Progesterone / genetics
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Membrane Proteins
  • PGRMC1 protein, human
  • Receptors, Progesterone