Density of cells and macrophages associated with collagen and remodeling in the peripartum preterm and term human cervix

Publication Year



Cells, preterm birth, collagen, macrophages, cervix


Biology | Cell Biology | Cells | Reproductive and Urinary Physiology


Premature cervical ripening occurs in preterm birth, but the similarities to mechanisms seen in term labor remain unexplored. Term parturition is an inflammatory process associated with collagen degradation and influx of leukocyte activity, specifically macrophages. This study tested whether these characteristics of the remodeling process in the cervix occurred prematurely resulting in preterm labor and delivery. Cervical biopsies were collected from women undergoing preterm (PTL) and term (TL) vaginal delivery, as well as term not in labor (TNL) and non-pregnant (NP) non-laboring women. Dense, fibrous sections of NP women contrasted with reduced collagen content in full gestational groups, TL and TNL. Reduced cell nuclei density and greater macrophages per area labeled with CD68 were present in TL and TNL groups compared to NP. Although PTL cell density was similar to NP, macrophages were found to be up-regulated. Based on equal number of macrophages in TNL, TL and PTL, patients, labor is not associated with an increase in number of macrophages. PTL was not found to match all TL characteristics, and therefore is not advanced. Manifestation of the immune characteristic studied was not found to result in labor; however, further analysis of activation rather than sheer number of CD68 macrophages may provide greater evidence as to what leads to PTL.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status


This document is currently unavailable online.