The cervix plays an important role in pregnancy as a mechanical barrier to prevent preterm birth (PTB). The material strength of the cervix can be attributed to its extracellular matrix (ECM), a network of cross-linked collagens (types I and III) embedded within a viscous matrix of glycosaminoglycans (GAG). GAGs are negatively charged polysaccharides that provide a fixed charge density (FCD) within the tissue to maintain hydration. Throughout gestation, the ECM of the cervix undergoes a remodeling process characterized by three stages: gradual softening in early pregnancy, a rapid increase in tissue distensibility termed ripening in late pregnancy, and repair at post partum 1. As the cervix softens and ripens, mature collagen cross-links break down while GAG content increases 2,3. Previous research has shown that these changes in collagen and GAGs correlate to a mechanically softer cervix at term 4.
- Bioengineering Division
Cervical Collagen Network Remodeling in Normal and Disrupted Parturition Mouse Models
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Yoshida, K, Reeves, C, Kim, M, Kitajewski, J, Vink, J, Wapner, R, Paik, D, & Myers, K. "Cervical Collagen Network Remodeling in Normal and Disrupted Parturition Mouse Models." Proceedings of the ASME 2013 Summer Bioengineering Conference. Volume 1B: Extremity; Fluid Mechanics; Gait; Growth, Remodeling, and Repair; Heart Valves; Injury Biomechanics; Mechanotransduction and Sub-Cellular Biophysics; MultiScale Biotransport; Muscle, Tendon and Ligament; Musculoskeletal Devices; Multiscale Mechanics; Thermal Medicine; Ocular Biomechanics; Pediatric Hemodynamics; Pericellular Phenomena; Tissue Mechanics; Biotransport Design and Devices; Spine; Stent Device Hemodynamics; Vascular Solid Mechanics; Student Paper and Design Competitions. Sunriver, Oregon, USA. June 26–29, 2013. V01BT51A004. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/SBC2013-14508
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