This paper was published as Molecular Human Reproduction, 2008, 14 (2), pp. 127-135. It is available from http://molehr.oxfordjournals.org/content/14/2/127. Doi: 10.1093/molehr/gam090Metadata only entryFailure of ligamentous support of the genital tract to resist intra-abdominal pressure is a plausible underlying mechanism for the\ud development of pelvic organ prolapse, but the nature of the molecular response of pelvic tissue support remains unknown. We\ud hypothesized that the expression of genes coding for proteins involved in maintaining the cellular and extracellular integrity\ud would be altered as a result of mechanical stretch. Therefore, cDNA microarrays were used to examine the difference in transcriptional\ud profile in RNA of primary culture fibroblasts subjected to mechanical stretch and those that remained static. Out of 34\ud mechano-responsive genes identified (P < 0.05), four were coding for regulation of actin cytoskeleton remodelling, and its interaction\ud with the extracellular matrix proteins; these are phosphatidyl inositol-4-phosphate 5-kinase (PIP5K1C), the human\ud signal-induced proliferation associated gene-1 (SIPA-1), TNFRSF1A-associated via death domain (TRADD) and deoxyribonuclease\ud 1-like 1 (DNase 1-L1). The transcriptosomal changes led us to investigate the phenotypic consequences of stretch, levormeloxifene\ud and estradiol (E2) on the cytoskeleton of cultured fibroblasts. The percentage of cells with abnormal F-actin configuration\ud was significantly higher in fibroblasts subjected to stretch compared with the static model (P < 0.0001). Levormeloxifene caused\ud similar significant alterations in actin morphology of the static fibroblasts. The use of E2 did not reverse the process or protect the\ud cells from the effect of stretch, but significantly increased the rate of fibroblast proliferation, suggestive of a role in healing process.\ud Mechanical stretch and/or levormeloxifene disturb the fibroblasts ability to maintain the cytoskeleton architecture and we speculate\ud that they may disrupt ligamentous integrity and result in clinical prolapse
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