Proteomic network analysis of human uterine smooth muscle in pregnancy, labor, and preterm labor.
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The molecular mechanisms involved in human uterine quiescence during gestation and the induction of labor at term or preterm are not completely known. Preterm delivery is associated with major morbidity and mortality and current efforts to prevent delivery until term are largely ineffective. Identification and semi-quantification of proteomic changes in uterine smooth muscle during pregnancy will allow for targeted research into how quiescence is maintained and what changes are associated with induction of labor. Examining preterm labor in this context will provide potential therapeutic targets for the management of preterm labor. We have recently performed two dimensional liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry on myometrial proteins isolated from pregnant patients in labor, pregnant patients not in labor, and pregnant patients in labor preterm. Using a conservative false discovery rate of 1% we have identified 2132 protein groups using this method and semi-quantitative spectral counting shows 201 proteins that have disparate levels of expression in preterm laboring samples. To our knowledge this is the first large scale proteomic study examining human uterine smooth muscle and this initial work has provided a target list for future experiments that can address how changing protein levels are involved in the induction of labor at term and preterm.
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