• elastin expression;
  • prolapsus uteri;
  • fibroblasts


Abnormal connective tissues may be a key factor in the development of pelvic supportive disorders. Elastin gene transcripts and elastin synthesis in cultured fibroblasts derived from cardinal ligaments of patients with prolapsus uteri and compared them with those in fibroblasts from age-matched control patients were examined. Elastin mRNA steady-state levels and elastin synthesis were significantly down-regulated in quiescent fibroblasts from prolapsus uteri patients compared with quiescent control fibroblasts. Although transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) promoted elastin mRNA and protein levels in fibroblasts from both prolapsus uteri and control patients, the maximum levels of elastin gene transcripts and elastin synthesis in response to exogenous TGF-β1 were significantly lower in prolapsus uteri fibroblasts than control fibro-blasts. These results suggest that the marked reduction in elastin gene transcripts and elastin production in fibroblasts cultured from elderly women with prolapsus uteri could lead to a paucity of ligament elastic fibres and thus may contribute to the loss of supportive function in uterine connective tissues.