Expression of apoptotic factors in vaginal tissues from women with urogenital prolapse


  • Linda Brubaker led the review process.

  • Conflict of Interest: none.



Increased apoptotic activity in pelvic tissues may contribute to development of pelvic floor disorders. We evaluated expression of apoptotic factors (Bcl-2 family) in vaginal tissues from women with pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and how these factors correlate with severity of prolapse.


mRNA and protein expression of anti-apoptotic and pro-apoptotic factors in vaginal tissues from subjects and controls were determined by real-time PCR and Western blot. Severity of prolapse was staged using POP-Q criteria.


Differential expression of Bcl-2 family factors was observed in protein rather than in gene expression. During the secretory phase, the anti-apoptotic (Bcl-2, Bcl-xl) and pro-apoptotic protein (Bax) were upregulated in controls compared to cases (P < 0.05). The ratios of Bcl-2/Bax and Bcl-2/Bad, which determine cellular sensitivity to induction of apoptosis, were higher in controls versus cases. Higher ratios indicate reduced cellular sensitivity to apoptosis. Protein expression of Bax and Bad was higher in women with severe compared to mild prolapse (P < 0.05).


Increased expression of Bad, Bax, and decreased ratios of Bcl-2/Bax, Bcl-2/Bad suggest increased apoptotic activity or sensitivity to induction of apoptosis in vaginal tissues of women with POP. Neurourol. Urodynam. 30: 1627–1632, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.