Am J Perinatol 2013; 30(06): 491-498
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1329179
Original Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Up-Regulation of Oxytocin Receptor Expression at Term Is Related to Maternal Body Mass Index

Matthew J. Garabedian
1   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
Wendy F. Hansen
1   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
Lauren A. Mccord
1   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
Mark A. Manning
1   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
John M. O'Brien
1   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
Thomas E. Curry Jr.
1   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

18 January 2012

23 July 2012

Publication Date:
25 January 2013 (online)


Background The likelihood of cesarean is in part related to maternal body mass index (BMI). Myometrial changes may be responsible.

Methods Myometrial biopsies were collected from the upper edge of the hysterotomy from women undergoing scheduled cesarean with term, singleton gestations. Oxytocin receptor and connexin-43 mRNA protein expression was quantified with real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot.

Results Twenty subjects were recruited: 13 repeat and 7 primary cesareans. Oxytocin receptor mRNA was associated with BMI among women undergoing primary (r = 0.75; p = 0.05) but not repeat cesarean (p > 0.05). Controlling for gestational age, this association strengthened (p = 0.004). Receptor protein expression showed a linear correlation with BMI in the primary cesarean group (p = 0.002). Connexin-43 mRNA expression was not related to BMI in women undergoing primary (r = −0.14, p = 0.76) or repeat (r = −0.01, p = 0.86) cesarean.

Conclusions Oxytocin receptor, but not connexin-43, expression is related to BMI, suggesting an alteration in oxytocin receptor expression or function related to obesity.


These data were presented, in part, at the Society for Gynecology Investigation 58th Annual Meeting, Miami Beach, Florida, March 17, 2011.

Funding for this project was received through National Institutes of Health Grant No. P20 RR15592, principal investigator Thomas E. Curry, Jr., PhD.

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