Presence of sensory nerve corpuscles in the human corpus and cervix uteri during pregnancy and labor as revealed by immunohistochemistry
Karolinska Institute, Department of Woman and Child Health, Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Karolinska Hospital, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2006, 4:45 doi:10.1186/1477-7827-4-45Published: 29 August 2006
The uterus is exposed to changes such as enlargement and distension during pregnancy and labor. In these processes and in the process of cervical ripening, proprioceptive information is likely to be of great importance. Therefore, we wanted to study the possible existence of sensory nerve corpuscles in uterine corpus and cervix during pregnancy and labor. Studies on this aspect have not previously been perfomed.
Biopsies were taken from the upper edge of the hysterotomy during caesarean section at term (n = 8), in labor (n = 5) and from the corresponding area in the non-pregnant uterus after hysterectomy (n = 7). Cervical biopsies were obtained transvaginally from the anterior cervical lip. Serial cryostat sections were prepared for immunohistochemistry using polyclonal antibodies against nerve growth factor receptor p75, protein gene product 9.5 and S-100.
Structures with the characteristics of sensory nerve corpuscles were observed in several specimens after staining for p75, PGP 9.5 and S-100. They were observed in specimens of the non-pregnant corpus and cervix and also in specimens of the pregnant cervix before onset of labor. However, they were absent in all specimens during labor.
Sensory corpuscles have here for the first time been detected in the human corpus and cervix uteri. Studies on the importance of the corpuscles in relation to the protective reflex actions that occur in the uterus during pregnancy should be performed in the future.