Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation vol:62 issue:2 pages:79-83
BACKGROUND: C-kit receptor expressing interstitial cells generate and coordinate the electrical signals that control peristalsis in the gut. However, the function of interstitial cells in the myometrium is not known. METHODS: (1) Sections of rabbit myometrium were subjected to immunohistochemical staining for the c-kit receptor. (2) Spontaneously contracting myometrial strips from New Zealand White rabbits near term were mounted in an organ bath and attached to a tension-recording device. The effect of increased concentrations of the c-kit receptor antagonist imatinib mesylate on these contractions was observed. The main outcome measures were the change in frequency, amplitude and duration of contraction. RESULTS: (1) Multipolar cells expressing c-kit were identified in the fibromuscular septum confirming the presence of interstitial cells in rabbit myometrium. (2) Imatinib decreased the amplitude of contractions by approximately 20% at 100 microM. No effect was seen at lower concentrations. No effect of imatinib on frequency or duration of contractions was observed at any of the concentrations studied. CONCLUSIONS: In isolated rabbit myometrium, acute inhibition of the c-kit receptor by imatinib mesylate affects only the amplitude of spontaneous contractions at concentrations, the equivalent of x10-100 the normal therapeutic concentration.