Transgenic and knockout mouse models have proven useful in the study of genes necessary for parturition - including genes that affect the timing and/or progression of labor contractions. However, taking full advantage of these models will require a detailed characterization of the contractile patterns in the mouse uterus. Currently the best methodology for this has been measurement of isometric tension in isolated muscle strips in vitro. However, this methodology does not provide a real-time measure of changes in uterine pressure over the course of pregnancy. Recent advances have opened the possibility of using radiotelemetric devices to more accurately and comprehensively study intrauterine pressure in vivo. We tested the effectiveness of this technology in the mouse, in both wild-type (WT) mice and a mouse model of defective parturition (SK3 channel-overexpressing mice), after surgical implant of telemetry transmitters into the uterine horn. Continuous recordings from day 18 of pregnancy through delivery revealed that WT mice typically deliver during the 12-h dark cycle after 19.5 days postcoitum. In these mice, intrauterine pressure gradually increases during this cycle, to threefold greater than that measured during the 12-h cycle before delivery. SK3-overexpressing mice, by contrast, exhibited lower intrauterine pressure over the same period. These results are consistent with the outcome of previous in vitro studies, and they indicate that telemetry is an accurate method for measuring uterine contraction, and hence parturition, in mice. The use of this technology will lead to important novel insights into changes in intrauterine pressure during the course of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiological genomics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Myometrium
  • Potassium channel
  • Preterm labor
  • SK3 channel-overexpressing mice
  • Uterine contraction


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