Aberrant uterine contractions can lead to preterm birth and other labour complications and are a significant cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. To investigate the mechanisms underlying dysfunctional uterine contractions, researchers have used experimentally tractable small animal models. However, biological differences between humans and rodents change how researchers select their animal model and interpret their results. Here, we provide a general review of studies of uterine excitation and contractions in mice, rats, guinea pigs, and humans, in an effort to introduce new researchers to the field and help in the design and interpretation of experiments in rodent models.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13607
JournalActa Physiologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • animal models
  • contraction
  • myometrium
  • parturition
  • pregnancy
  • species differences
  • uterus


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