RhoA and Rho-kinase inhibitors modulate cervical resistance: The possible role of RhoA/Rho-kinase signalling pathway in cervical ripening and contractility.


Department of Pharmacodynamics and Biopharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Szeged, Eötvös u. 6., H-6720 Szeged, Hungary. Electronic address: [Email]


Improper cervical function may lead premature or late-term birth. The RhoA/Rho-kinase (ROCK) signalling pathway takes part in cellular functions including smooth muscle contraction. No information is available about the cervical expression of the RhoA/ROCK system during pregnancy. Our aim was to detect the mRNA and protein expression of ROCK enzymes in rat cervices and to evaluate the effects of RhoA/ROCK inhibitors on cervical resistance. The mRNA and protein expressions of RhoA, ROCK I and II were measured in non-pregnant, pregnant and postpartum rat cervices and during parturition by Real-time qPCR and Western blot. The cervical resistance modifying effects of RhoA (simvastatin) and ROCK (fasudil, Y-27632) (10-6M) were investigated in tissue bath experiments. RhoA mRNA was increased on post-partum day 3, while the RhoA protein expression was decreased near and during parturition. ROCK I mRNA and protein expressions were fluctuating with a decrease in protein expression during parturition. ROCK II mRNA and protein expressions were sharply reduced during parturition. Simvastatin increased the cervical resistance on pregnancy days 20 and 22 while Y-27632 and fasudil reduced the resistance on pregnancy days 20. The decrease in RhoA/ROCK expression near parturition may take part in cervical ripening, especially in the final processes leading to delivery. ROCK inhibitors might be potential drug candidates to treat insufficient cervical ripening late-term pregnancies. The effect of simvastatin possibly due to its unique smooth muscle contracting activity in pregnant cervix. Compounds with simvastatin-like action might be new drug candidates for preterm cervical ripening.


Cervical ripening,Fasudil,Pregnancy,RhoA/ROCK pathway,Simvastatin,