Background: The regulation of vascular tone in the uterine circulation is a key determinant of appropriate uteroplacental blood perfusion and successful pregnancy outcome. Estrogens, which increase in the maternal circulation throughout pregnancy, can exert acute vasodilatory actions. Recently a third estrogen receptor named GPER (G protein-coupled estrogen receptor) was identified and, although several studies have shown vasodilatory effects in several vascular beds, nothing is known about its role in the uterine vasculature. Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the function of GPER in uterine arteries mainly during pregnancy. Uterine arteries were isolated from nonpregnant and pregnant rats. Methods: Vessels were contracted with phenylephrine and then incubated with incremental doses (10 -12 -10 -5 M) of the selective GPER agonist G1. Results: G1 induced a dose-dependent vasodilation which was: 1) significantly increased in pregnancy, 2) endothelium-dependent, 3) primarily mediated by NO/cGMP pathway and 4) unaffected by BK ca channel inhibition. Conclusion: This is the first study to show the potential importance of GPER signaling in reducing uterine vascular tone during pregnancy. GPER may therefore play a previously unrecognized role in the regulation of uteroplacental blood flow and normal fetus growth.
Tropea, T., De Francesco, E. M., Rigiracciolo, D., Maggiolini, M., Wareing, M., Osol, G., & Mandalà, M. (2015). Pregnancy augments G protein estrogen receptor (GPER) induced vasodilation in rat uterine arteries via the nitric oxide - cGMP signaling pathway. PLoS ONE, 10(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0141997