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Ex vivo pharmacology of surgical samples of the uterosacral ligament. Part I: Effects of carbachol and oxytocin on smooth muscle


  • Conflict of interest: none.

  • Lori Birder led the peer-review process as the Associate Editor responsible for the paper.



In a previous study we observed impaired smooth muscle in the uterosacral ligament (USL) of patients with pelvic organ prolapse. The aims of the study were to describe the method of the novel microperfusion system and to determine normal function and pharmacology of smooth muscle in the USL.


Samples from the USL were obtained during hysterectomy for benign reasons. Small stretches of connective tissue were mounted in a perfusion chamber under the stereomicroscope. Isotonic contractions of smooth muscle were monitored by digital time-lapse video and quantified by image processing.


Constant perfusion with carbachol elicited tonic and pulse stimulation with carbachol and oxytocin rhythmic contractions of smooth muscle in the ground reticulum. Under constant perfusion with relaxin the tonic contraction after carbachol was abolished.


With the novel microperfusion system, isotonic contractions of smooth muscle in the USL can be recorded and quantified in the tissue microenvironment on the microscopic level. The USL smooth muscle is cholinergic, stimulated by oxytocin and modulated by relaxin. Neurourol. Urodynam. 31:1294–1299, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.