Oxytocin is a small peptide hormone with multiple sites of action in human body. It regulates a large number of reproduction-related processes in all species. Particularly important is its ability to stimulate uterine contractility. This is achieved by multiple mechanisms involving sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ release and sensitization of the contractile apparatus to Ca2+. In this paper, we review the data published by us and other groups on oxytocin-induced modulation of uterine contractility. We conclude that sensitization of contractile apparatus to Ca2+ is the most relevant physiological effect of oxytocin on human myometrium
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