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Several anesthetic agents are used in cesarean sections for both regional and general anesthesia purposes. However, there are no data comparing the in vivo effects of propofol, sevoflurane, and dexmedetomidine on the contraction of the myometrium in pregnant rats. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of these anesthetic agents on myometrial contraction and elucidate the underlying mechanisms. Contraction force and frequency changes in response to propofol, dexmedetomidine, or sevoflurane were evaluated in vivo and in vitro. To test the effect of arachidonic acid on myometrial contraction enhanced by dexmedetomidine, changes in myometrial contraction with dexmedetomidine after administration of indomethacin were evaluated. The amount of phosphorylated myosin phosphatase target subunit 1 (MYPT1) in the membrane fraction was expressed as a percentage of the total fraction by Western blot analysis. This study demonstrated that dexmedetomidine enhances oxytocin-induced contraction in the myometrium of pregnant rats, whereas propofol and sevoflurane attenuate these contractions. The dexmedetomidine-induced enhancement of myometrial contraction force was abolished by the administration of indomethacin. Propofol did not affect oxytocin-induced MYPT1 phosphorylation, whereas sevoflurane attenuated oxytocin-induced MYPT1 phosphorylation. Inhibition of myofilament calcium sensitivity may underlie the inhibition of myometrial contraction induced by sevoflurane. Arachidonic acid may play an important role in the enhancement of myometrial contraction induced by dexmedetomidine by increasing myofilament calcium sensitivity. Dexmedetomidine may be used as a sedative agent to promote uterine muscle contraction and suppress bleeding after fetal delivery.


Motonobu Kimizuka, Yasuyuki Tokinaga, Ryu Azumaguchi, Kosuke Hamada, Satoshi Kazuma, Michiaki Yamakage. Effects of anesthetic agents on contractions of the pregnant rat myometrium in vivo and in vitro. Journal of anesthesia. 2021 Feb;35(1):68-80

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PMID: 33098452

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