Elevated protease activities in human amnion and chorion correlate with preterm premature rupture of membranes.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVES:The mechanism(s) of preterm premature rupture of fetal membranes resulting in preterm birth remains unknown. Studies suggest that fetal membranes are susceptible to weakening by protease attack and that collagenases may be active at the site of rupture. In this study fetal membranes from women delivered after preterm premature rupture of membranes were compared with control membranes and analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively for protease activities. STUDY DESIGN:Fourteen membranes from women with preterm premature rupture of membranes and nine membranes from women delivered preterm without premature rupture of membranes or otherwise normal women delivered at term vaginally or by cesarean section were studied. Zymogram gel electrophoresis with gelatin incorporation was used to assess the number and apparent molecular weights of protease activities. Functional and quantitative studies of protease activity were measured by fluorescent substrate cleavage. RESULTS:Zymogram gel electrophoresis studies demonstrated the presence of five to seven different protease bands in preterm premature rupture of membranes samples, whereas control membranes demonstrated only one to three protease bands. Fluorescent studies of protease activity demonstrated a 10- to 40-fold increase in activity in membranes from women with preterm premature rupture of membranes compared with normal control membranes. Studies with protease inhibitors suggest that most of the activity is due to metalloproteinases. CONCLUSION:In membranes from women with preterm premature rupture of membranes there appears to be a general increase in the amount of protease activity and increased numbers of putatively different proteases. Increased activity or deregulated protease control may mediate preterm premature rupture of membranes and be a potentially remediable cause of preterm birth.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Draper, D; McGregor, J; Hall, J; Jones, W; Beutz, M; Heine, RP; Porreco, R

Published Date

  • November 1995

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 173 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 1506 - 1512

PubMed ID

  • 7503192

Pubmed Central ID

  • 7503192

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-6868

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9378

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0002-9378(95)90640-1


  • eng