S Wray

University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (179)806.41 Total impact

  • Sarah Arrowsmith, Susan Wray
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    ABSTRACT: Oxytocin is a nonapeptide hormone that has a central role in the regulation of parturition and lactation. In this review, we address oxytocin receptor (OTR) signalling and its role in the myometrium during pregnancy and in labour. The OTR belongs to the rhodopsin-type (Class 1) of the G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily and is regulated by changes in receptor expression, receptor desensitisation and local changes in oxytocin concentration. Receptor activation triggers a number of signalling events to stimulate contraction, primarily by elevating intracellular calcium (Ca). This includes; inositol-tris-phosphate-mediated store calcium release, store-operated Ca entry and voltage-operated Ca entry. We discuss each mechanism in turn and also discuss Ca-independent mechanisms such as Ca sensitisation. Since oxytocin induces contraction in the myometrium, both the activation and the inhibition of its receptor have long been targets in the management of dysfunctional and preterm labours respectively.. We discuss current and novel OTR agonists and antagonists and their use and potential benefit in obstetric practice. In this regard, we highlight the following clinical scenarios: dysfunctional labour, postpartum haemorrhage and preterm birth.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Neuroendocrinology 04/2014; · 3.33 Impact Factor
  • Susan Wray, Jorge Carvajal
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    ABSTRACT: Sue Wray reports on the meeting from July 2013 at IUPS, Birmingham UK here
    Experimental physiology 03/2014; 99(3):487-8. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about how hypercholesterolemia affects Ca2+ signalling in the vasculature of ApoE−/− mice, a model of atherosclerosis. Our objectives were therefore to determine (i) if hypercholesterolemia alters Ca2+ signalling in aortic endothelial cells before overt atherosclerotic lesions occur, (ii) how Ca2+ signals are affected in older plaque-containing mice, and (iii) whether Ca2+ signalling changes were translated into contractility differences. Using confocal microscopy we found agonist-specific Ca2+ changes in endothelial cells. ATP responses were unchanged in ApoE−/− cells and methyl-β-cyclodextrin, which lowers cholesterol, was without effect. In contrast, Ca2+ signals to carbachol were significantly increased in ApoE−/− cells, an effect methyl-β-cyclodextrin reversed. Ca2+ signals were more oscillatory and store-operated Ca2+ entry decreased as mice aged and plaques formed. Despite clearly increased Ca2+ signals, aortic rings pre-contracted with phenylephrine had impaired relaxation to carbachol. This functional deficit increased with age, was not related to ROS generation, and could be partially rescued by methyl-β-cyclodextrin. In conclusion, carbachol-induced calcium signalling and handling are significantly altered in endothelial cells of ApoE−/− mice before plaque development. We speculate that reduction in store-operated Ca2+ entry may result in less efficient activation of eNOS and thus explain the reduced relaxatory response to CCh, despite the enhanced Ca2+ response.
    Cell calcium 01/2014; · 4.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the myometrium SR Ca(2+) depletion promotes an increase in force but unlike several other smooth muscles, there is no Ca(2+) sparks-STOCs coupling mechanism to explain this. Given the importance of the control of contractility for successful parturition, we have examined, in pregnant rat myometrium, the effects of SR Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA) inhibition on the temporal relationship between action potentials, Ca(2+) transients and force. Simultaneous recording of electrical activity, calcium and force showed that SERCA inhibition, by cyclopiazonic acid (CPA 20μM), caused time-dependent changes in excitability, most noticeably depolarization and elevations of baseline [Ca(2+)]i and force. At the onset of these changes there was a prolongation of the bursts of action potentials and a corresponding series of Ca(2+) spikes, which increased the amplitude and duration of contractions. As the rise of baseline Ca(2+) and depolarization continued a point was reached when electrical and Ca(2+) spikes and phasic contractions ceased, and a maintained, tonic force and Ca(2+) was produced. Lanthanum, a non-selective blocker of store-operated Ca(2+) entry, but not the L-type Ca(2+) channel blocker nifedipine (1-10μM), could abolish the maintained force and calcium. Application of the agonist, carbachol, produced similar effects to CPA, i.e. depolarization, elevation of force and calcium. A brief, high concentration of carbachol, to cause SR Ca(2+) depletion without eliciting receptor-operated channel opening, also produced these results. The data obtained suggest that in pregnant rats SR Ca(2+) release is coupled to marked Ca(2+) entry, via store operated Ca(2+) channels, leading to depolarization and enhanced electrical and mechanical activity.
    Cell Calcium. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In this short review we discuss how recent insights into myometrial physiology may be taken forward and translated into much needed novel therapies for problems associated with labour. We consider excitation-contraction coupling in the myometrium and how this relates to our understanding of the changes that occur to produce myometrial contractions and successful labour. We then discuss how this information has already been used in the development of drugs to either stimulate or relax the myometrium, to address the needs of women with either slow (dystocic) labours or threatened preterm labours, respectively. We next present the data showing how basic physiological findings pertaining to hypoxia and lactate production, have been taken and translated into a tool for predicting and hence better managing difficult labours. We then highlight examples of where physiological research has started to provide mechanistic insight into clinical problems associated with labour and parturition (obesity, diabetes, advanced maternal age, postdate and twin pregnancies) and suggest how these findings could be translated into new therapies for difficult labours.
    Experimental physiology 12/2013; · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This report summarizes work on investigating the effects of some medicinal plants on uterine contraction. As there is a clinical need to find better drugs to help control uterine activity, and novel compounds are sought, the mechanisms whereby the medicinal plants exerted their effects along with their major compounds are discussed. By identifying the plants, major constituents and mechanisms, this review will also illustrate where new drugs may be next developed so that better ways to treat uterine disorders will be available to women worldwide.
    Experimental physiology 11/2013; · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cyclotides are plant peptides comprising a circular backbone and three conserved disulfide bonds that confer them with exceptional stability. They were originally discovered in Oldenlandia affinis based on their use in traditional African medicine to accelerate labor. Recently, cyclotides have been identified in numerous plant species of the coffee, violet, cucurbit, pea, potato, and grass families. Their unique structural topology, high stability, and tolerance to sequence variation make them promising templates for the development of peptide-based pharmaceuticals. However, the mechanisms underlying their biological activities remain largely unknown; specifically, a receptor for a native cyclotide has not been reported hitherto. Using bioactivity-guided fractionation of an herbal peptide extract known to indigenous healers as "kalata-kalata," the cyclotide kalata B7 was found to induce strong contractility on human uterine smooth muscle cells. Radioligand displacement and second messenger-based reporter assays confirmed the oxytocin and vasopressin V1a receptors, members of the G protein-coupled receptor family, as molecular targets for this cyclotide. Furthermore, we show that cyclotides can serve as templates for the design of selective G protein-coupled receptor ligands by generating an oxytocin-like peptide with nanomolar affinity. This nonapeptide elicited dose-dependent contractions on human myometrium. These observations provide a proof of concept for the development of cyclotide-based peptide ligands.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2013; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increased airway smooth muscle (ASM) contractility is thought to underlie symptoms of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). In the cystic fibrosis (CF) airway, ASM anomalies have been reported, but have not been fully characterized and the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. We examined ASM in an adult CF mouse tracheal ring preparation, and determined whether changes in contractility were associated with altered ASM morphology. We looked for inherent changes in the cellular pathways involved in contractility, and characterized trachea morphology in the adult trachea and in an embryonic lung culture model during development. Results showed that that there was a reduction in tracheal caliber in CF mice as indicated by a reduction in the number of cartilage rings; proximal cross-sectional areas of cftr (-/-) tracheas and luminal areas were significantly smaller, but there was no difference in the area or distribution of smooth muscle. Morphological differences observed in adult trachea were not evident in the embryonic lung at 11.5 days gestation or after 72 h in culture. Functional data showed a significant reduction in the amplitude and duration of contraction in response to carbachol (CCh) in Ca-free conditions. The reduction in contraction was agonist specific, and occurred throughout the length of the trachea. These data show that there is a loss in the contractile capacity of the CF mouse trachea due to downregulation of the pathway specific to acetylcholine (ACh) activation. This reduction in contraction is not associated with changes in the area or distribution of ASM.
    Physiological reports. 11/2013; 1(6):e00138.
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    ABSTRACT: To assess whether the frequency of adverse neonatal outcome at delivery is related to the level of lactate in amniotic fluid and to the use of oxytocin. Prospective observational study. Soder Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden. 74 women in active labor with a gestational age ≥ 36 weeks and mixed parity. Levels of lactate in amniotic fluid were analyzed bedside from an intrauterine catheter every 30 minutes during labor. Deliveries were divided into groups with and without oxytocin. The frequency of adverse neonatal outcome at delivery. Of the deliveries 13.5% (10/74) concluded with an adverse neonatal outcome. The levels of lactate in amniotic fluid increased during labor, more so in deliveries where oxytocin was used. In the group with an adverse neonatal outcome, the level of lactate in amniotic fluid was significantly higher in the final sample before delivery (p=0.04). In 18 deliveries, stimulation with oxytocin was temporarily halted for at least 30 minutes due to overly stimulated labor contractions. A decreasing level of lactate in amniotic fluid was shown within a median 5% /30 minutes. In the group where the administration of oxytocin was halted, no adverse neonatal outcome was present. The frequency of adverse neonatal outcome was associated to the level of lactate in amniotic fluid and to the use of oxytocin. The level of lactate in amniotic fluid may be an additional valuable tool when oxytocin is administered during labor. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Acta Obstetricia Et Gynecologica Scandinavica 09/2013; · 1.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The microcirculation is the site of gas and nutrient exchange. Control of central or local signals acting on the myocytes, pericytes and endothelial cells within it, is essential for health. Due to technical problems of accessibility, the mechanisms controlling Ca(2+) signalling and contractility of myocytes and pericytes in different sections of microvascular networks in situ have not been investigated. We aimed to investigate Ca(2+) signalling and functional responses, in a microcirculatory network in situ. Using live confocal imaging of ureteric microvascular networks, we have studied the architecture, morphology, Ca(2+) signalling and contractility of myocytes and pericytes. Ca(2+) signals vary between distributing arcade and downstream transverse and precapillary arterioles, are modified by agonists, with sympathetic agonists being ineffective beyond transverse arterioles. In myocytes and pericytes, Ca(2+) signals arise from Ca(2+) release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum through inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate-induced Ca(2+) release and not via ryanodine receptors or Ca(2+) entry into the cell. The responses in pericytes are less oscillatory, slower and longer-lasting than those in myocytes. Myocytes and pericytes are electrically coupled, transmitting Ca(2+) signals between arteriolar and venular networks dependent on gap junctions and Ca(2+) entry via L-type Ca(2+) channels. Endothelial Ca(2+) signalling inhibits intracellular Ca(2+) oscillations in myocytes and pericytes via L-arginine/nitric oxide pathway and intercellular propagating Ca(2+) signals via EDHF. Increases of Ca(2+) in pericytes and myocytes constrict all vessels except capillaries. These data reveal the structural and signalling specializations allowing blood flow to be regulated by myocytes and pericytes.
    Cell calcium 07/2013; · 4.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Over half of twin pregnancies in US and UK deliver prematurely but the reasons for this are unclear. The contractility of myometrium from twin pregnancies has not been directly investigated. The objective of this research was to determine if there are differences in the contractile activity and response to oxytocin, between myometrium from singleton and twin pregnancies, across a range of gestational ages. Furthermore, we wished to determine if contractile activity correlates with increasing level of stretch, using neonatal birth weights as a marker of uterine stretch. This was an in vitro, laboratory based study of myometrial contractility in women pregnant with one or two babies, using biopsies obtained from non-labouring women undergoing Caesarean section. Spontaneous, oxytocin-stimulated and depolarization induced contractile activity was compared. Direct measurements of myometrial contractility under controlled conditions show that the frequency of contractions and responses to oxytocin are significantly increased in twins compared to singletons. The duration of contraction however was significantly reduced. We find that contractile activity correlates with increasing levels of stretch, using neonatal birth weights as a surrogate for uterine stretch, with response to oxytocin being significantly positively correlated with birth weight. We have found significant differences in contractile properties between myometrium from singleton and twin pregnancies and that increasing uterine stretch can alter the contractile properties of myometrium. We discuss the implication of these findings to preterm delivery and future studies.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(5):e63800. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Ureters are fundamental for keeping kidneys free from uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), but we have shown that 2 strains (J96 and 536) can subvert this role and reduce ureteric contractility. To deter-mine whether this is (1) a widespread feature of UPEC, (2) exhibited only by UPEC, and (3) dependent upon type 1 fimbriae, we analyzed strains representing epidemiologically important multilocus sequence types ST131, ST73, and ST95 and non-UPEC E. coli. Methods. Contractility and calcium transients in intact rat ureters were compared between strains. Mannose and fim mutants were used to investigate the role of type 1 fimbriae. Results. Non-UPEC had no significant effect on contractility, with a mean decrease after 8 hours of 8.8%, compared with 8.8% in controls. UPEC effects on contractility were strain specific, with decreases from 9.47% to 96.7%. Mannose inhibited the effects of the most potent strains (CFT073 and UTI89) but had variable effects among other UPEC strains. Mutation and complementation studies showed that the effects of the UTI89 cystitis isolate were fimH dependent. Conclusions. We find that (1) non-UPEC do not affect ureteric contractility, (2) impairment of contractility is a common feature of UPEC, and (3) the mechanism varies between strains, but for the most potent UPEC type 1 fimbriae are involved. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common laboratory-confirmed infections in Europe and North America, accounting for substantial medical costs worldwide [1]. Most UTIs are caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC). Indeed studies suggest that
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 09/2012; 206(10):1589. · 5.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In uterine smooth muscle, the effects of watermelon and its citrulline content are unknown. The aims of this study were therefore, to determine the effects of watermelon extract and citrulline on the myometrium and to investigate their mechanisms of action. The effects of extracts of watermelon flesh and rind and l-citrulline (64 μmol/L) were evaluated on 3 types of contractile activity; spontaneous, those elicited by potassium chloride (KCl) depolarization, or oxytocin (10 nmol/L) application in isolated rat uterus. Inhibitors of nitric oxide (NO) and its mechanisms of action, N (ω)-Nitro-L-arginine methyl ester hydrochloride (l-NAME, 100 μmol/L), LY83583 (1 μmol/L), and tetraethylamonium chloride (5 mmol/L), as well as Ca signaling pathways, were determined. Both flesh and rind extracts significantly decreased the force produced by all 3 mechanisms, in a dose-dependent manner. The extracts could also significantly decrease the force under conditions of sustained high Ca levels (depolarization and agonist) and when the force was produced only by sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca release. l-citrulline produced the same effects on force as watermelon extracts. With submaximal doses of extract, the additive effects of l-citrulline were found. The inhibitory effects of extracts and l-citrulline were reversed upon the addition of NO inhibitors, and pretreatment of tissues with these inhibitors prevented the actions of both extracts and l-citrulline. Thus, these data show that watermelon and citrulline are potent tocolytics, decreasing the force produced by calcium entry and SR release and arising by different pathways, including oxytocin stimulation. Their major mechanism is to stimulate the NO-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) relaxant pathway.
    Reproductive sciences (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) 09/2012; · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Much has been written about the effects of aging on reproductive function, especially female fertility. Much less is known about how aging may affect the contractility of the smooth muscle within the uterus, the myometrium. The myometrium is active through a woman's entire life, not just during pregnancy. Here we will discuss briefly the contractile functions of the uterus and the changes it undergoes throughout the stages of a woman's life from menstruation and the menopause, before evaluating the evidence for any changes in myometrial contractility and responses as women age, with a particular focus on women of advanced maternal age. We present original contractility analysis for the widest data set for human myometrium so far examined, and determine inherent spontaneous activity as well as responses to depolarisation and stimulation with oxytocin. Our data show that in the non-pregnant state there is a significant decrease in contractility for both spontaneous and depolarised-induced contractions, with age. We suggest that muscle atrophy and down regulation of Ca channels may account for this. Interestingly in pregnant myometrium we found a wide range of contractile ability between women and little evidence for decreased spontaneous activity between the ages of 25-40. Oxytocin responses appear to be more affected by aging, a finding that is consistent with previously reported clinical findings, and may partly be the result of membrane lipids such as cholesterol, increasing as women age. The marked differences between the age-related decline of force beyond age 30 in non-pregnant uterus, and the lack of difference in the pregnant state over this period, shows that the uterus retains its ability to respond to gestational hormones. The growth of the pregnant uterus and increase in content of myofibrillar proteins, may abolish any previous age-related force deficit. This finding is consistent with what is apparent for postmenopausal women in their 50s and 60s; that with the appropriate hormonal stimulation the uterus can allow an embryo to implant, and then without further intervention, carry the foetus to term. It is tempting therefore to speculate that unlike other well documented declines in female reproductive functions with age, the myometrium remains able to function into a woman's 7th decade.
    Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility 05/2012; 33(3-4):209-17. · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prolongation of pregnancy i.e. going more than 10 days over the estimated due date, complicates up to 10% of all pregnancies and is associated with increased risk to both mother and fetus. Despite the obvious need for contractions of the uterus to end pregnancy, there have been no studies directly examining the role of uterine smooth muscle, myometrium, in the aetiology of prolonged pregnancy. This study tested the hypothesis that the intrinsic contractile characteristics of myometrium taken from women with prolonged pregnancy (>41 weeks and 3 days) was reduced compared to those delivering at term (39-41 weeks). We recruited women undergoing Caesarean Section (CS) delivery either pre-labour (n = 27) or in labour (n = 66) at term or postdates. The contractile ability of the postdates myometrium, whether spontaneous or elicited by oxytocin or high-K solution, was significantly reduced compared to term myometrium. These differences remained when adjusted for parity and other maternal characteristics. The findings remained significant when expressed per cross sectional area. Histological examination revealed no differences between the two groups. The contractile differences were however related to intracellular Ca transients suggesting an effect of [Ca] on reduced force production in the postdates group. In summary, myometrium from prolonged pregnancies contracts poorly in vitro even when stimulated with oxytocin and in active labour. Responses to high K(+) and measurements of Ca suggest that alterations in excitation contraction coupling, rather than any histological changes of the myometrium, may underlie the differences between term and postdates myometrium. We show that postdates pregnancy is associated with poor myometrial activity and suggest that this may contribute to increased myometrial quiescence and hence, prolonged gestation.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e36787. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    Hayley Robinson, Susan Wray
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    ABSTRACT: Better tocolytics are required to help prevent preterm labour. The gaseotransmitter Hydrogen sulphide (H(2)S) has been shown to reduce myometrial contractility and thus is of potential interest. However previous studies used NaHS, which is toxic and releases H(2)S as a non-physiological bolus and thus alternative H(2)S donors are sought. GYY4137 has been developed to slowly release H(2)S and hence better reflect endogenous physiological release. We have examined its effects on spontaneous and oxytocin-stimulated contractility and compared them to NaHS, in human and rat myometrium, throughout gestation. The effects on contractility in response to GYY4137 (1 nM-1 mM) and NaHS (1 mM) were examined on myometrial strips from, biopsies of women undergoing elective caesarean section or hysterectomy, and from non-pregnant, 14, 18, 22 day (term) gestation or labouring rats. In pregnant rat and human myometrium dose-dependent and significant decreases in spontaneous contractions were seen with increasing concentrations of GYY4137, which also reduced underlying Ca transients. GYY4137 and NaHS significantly reduced oxytocin-stimulated and high-K depolarised contractions as well as spontaneous activity. Their inhibitory effects increased as gestation advanced, but were abruptly reversed in labour. Glibenclamide, an inhibitor of ATP-sensitive potassium (K(ATP)) channels, abolished the inhibitory effect of GYY4137. These data suggest (i) H(2)S contributes to uterine quiescence from mid-gestation until labor, (ii) that H(2)S affects L-type calcium channels and K(ATP) channels reducing Ca entry and thereby myometrial contractions, (iii) add to the evidence that H(2)S plays a physiological role in relaxing myometrium, and thus (iv) H(2)S is an attractive target for therapeutic manipulation of human myometrial contractility.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e46278. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence of births worldwide complicated by diabetes mellitus is increasing. In the UK, for example, <25% of diabetic women have a non-instrumental vaginal delivery. Strikingly, more than half the Caesarean sections (CS) in these patients are non-elective, but the reasons for this are not understood. We have tested the hypothesis that poor myometrial contractility as a consequence of the disease contributes to this high CS rate. We compared spontaneous, high K depolarisation and oxytocin-induced contractions from diabetic and matched control patients having an elective CS. To investigate the mechanism of any differences we measured intracellular Ca, and performed western blotting and compared the tissues histologically. There was significantly decreased contraction amplitude and duration in uteri from diabetic compared with control patients, even when possible confounders such as BMI were analysed. Reduced intracellular calcium signals and expression of calcium entry channels were found in uteruses from diabetic patients, which, along with a reduction in muscle content found on histological examination, could explain the reduced force. Myometrium from diabetic patients was responsive to oxytocin, but still did not reach the levels found in non-diabetic patients. These are the first data investigating myometrium in diabetic patients and they support the hypothesis that there is poorer contractility even in the presence of oxytocin. The underlying mechanism is related to reduced Ca channel expression and intracellular calcium signals and a decrease in muscle mass. We conclude that these factors significantly contribute to the increased emergency CS rate in diabetic patients.
    Diabetologia 11/2011; 55(2):489-98. · 6.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the extent to which in vitro measurements of myometrial contractility reflect the clinical indication for caesarean section. A prospective, observational hypothesis-generating study. Women were recruited from Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust and experiments were performed in the Physiology Department at the University of Liverpool. Myometrial samples were taken from women undergoing a caesarean section during labour (n = 50) or from women having a repeat nonlabouring caesarean section (n = 70). The demographic characteristics of the women and indications for current and previous caesarean sections were recorded. The force, frequency and duration of spontaneous contractions of myometrial strips, and changes in the intracellular calcium concentration of the strips, were measured. Kruskall-Wallis and post hoc tests were used to assess the significance of differences between groups. Samples from women whose caesarean section was for fetal distress/acidosis (scalp pH <7.2) contracted with more force than those from women whose caesarean section was for delay in the first stage of labour (P < 0.001). For repeat, nonlabouring caesarean sections, samples from women whose first caesarean section was for fetal distress/acidosis also contracted with more force than did samples from women whose first caesarean section was for delay in the first stage of labour (P = 0.03). These findings suggest that the myometrium contracts with greater force in women who have a caesarean section for fetal distress.
    BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 07/2011; 118(12):1499-506. · 3.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of wild ginger (Costus speciosus (Koen) Smith, Costaceae) rhizome extract on uterine contractility. We particularly examined the effects on spontaneous phasic contractions and the mechanisms whereby it exerts its effects. Wild ginger rhizomes were ethanolic extracted and their constituents analyzed. Isometric force was measured in strips of longitudinal myometrium and the effects of the extract studied. The extract (10 mg/100 mL) increased spontaneous contractions. The amplitude and frequency of the phasic contraction were significantly increased along with basal tension. Force produced in the presence of the extract was abolished by inhibition of l-type calcium channels or myosin light chain kinase (MLCK). The actions of the extract were not blocked by the estrogen receptor blocker, fulvestrant. Although significant amounts of diosgenin were present in the extract, we found that, depending upon its concentration, diosgenin had either no effect or was inhibitory on force. Interestingly, the extract induced significant amounts of force in the absence of extracellular calcium, which could be blocked by inhibition of the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium-ATPase (SERCA), but not fulvestrant. We conclude that wild ginger rhizome extract stimulates phasic activity in rat uterus. Our data suggest that the uterotonic effect is due to nonestrogenic effects and not those of diosgenin. Wild ginger was able to increase contraction via calcium entry on l-type calcium channels and sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium release. We suggest that wild ginger rhizome extract may be a useful uterine stimulant.
    Reproductive sciences (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) 06/2011; 18(6):516-24. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In endothelial cells there remain uncertainties in the details of how Ca(2+) signals are generated and maintained, especially in intact preparations. In particular the role of the sarco-endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA), in contributing to the components of agonist-induced signals is unclear. The aim of this work was to increase understanding of the detailed mechanism of Ca(2+) signalling in endothelial cells using real time confocal imaging of Fluo-4 loaded intact rat tail arteries in response to muscarinic stimulation. In particular we have focused on the role of SERCA, and its interplay with capacitative Ca(2+) entry (CCE) and ER Ca(2+) release and uptake. We have determined its contribution to the Ca(2+) signal and how it varies with different physiological stimuli, including single and repeated carbachol applications and brief and prolonged exposures. In agreement with previous work, carbachol stimulated a rise in intracellular Ca(2+) in the endothelial cells, consisting of a rapid initial phase, then a plateau upon which oscillations of Ca(2+) were superimposed, followed by a decline to basal Ca(2+) levels upon carbachol removal. Our data support the following conclusions: (i) the size (amplitude and duration) of the Ca(2+) spike and early oscillations are limited by SERCA activity, thus both are increased if SERCA is inhibited. (ii) SERCA activity is such that brief applications of carbachol do not trigger CCE, presumably because the fall in luminal Ca(2+) is not sufficient to trigger it. However, longer applications sufficient to deplete the ER or even partial SERCA inhibition stimulate CCE. (iii) Ca(2+) entry occurs via STIM-mediated CCE and SERCA contributes to the cessation of CCE. In conclusion our data show how SERCA function is crucial to shaping endothelial cell Ca signals and its dynamic interplay with both CCE and ER Ca releases.
    Cell calcium 01/2011; 49(1):66-77. · 4.29 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
806.41 Total Impact Points


  • 1991–2014
    • University of Liverpool
      • Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology
      Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
  • 2008–2013
    • Suranaree University of Technology
      • Institute of Science
      Khorat, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
  • 2007–2011
    • The University of Warwick
      • Warwick Medical School (WMS)
      Coventry, England, United Kingdom
  • 2000
    • The Bracton Centre, Oxleas NHS Trust
      Дартфорде, England, United Kingdom
  • 1988–1998
    • University of Glasgow
      • Division of Physiology
      Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
    • WWF United Kingdom
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1986–1990
    • University College London
      • • Department of Clinical Physiology
      • • Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering
      London, ENG, United Kingdom