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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the First and Second European Workshops on Preterm Labour of the Special Non-Invasive Advances in Fetal and Neonatal Evaluation (SAFE) Network of Excellence

Open Access Proceedings

Is the beta3-adrenoceptor (ADRB3) a potential target for uterorelaxant drugs?

Marc Bardou1*, Céline Rouget123, Michèle Breuiller-Fouché3, Catherine Loustalot4, Emmanuel Naline3, Paul Sagot4, René Frydman5, Esteban J Morcillo6, Charles Advenier3, Marie-Josèphe Leroy3 and John J Morrison7

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratoire de Physiologie et Pharmacologie Cardiovasculaires Expérimentales (LPPCE), Faculté de Médecine, Université de Bourgogne, 7 Bd Jeanne d'Arc, BP 87900, 21079 Dijon Cedex, France

2 UPRES EA220 – Pharmacologie, UFR Biomédicale des Saints Pères, Université Paris 5, 45 rue des Saints Pères, 75006 Paris, France

3 Unité INSERM U767, Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, Université René Descartes, Université Paris 5, 75006 Paris, France

4 Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, CHU du Bocage, 21 Bd de Lattre de Tassigny, BP 1542, 21000 Dijon, France

5 Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Antoine Béclère Hospital, 157 rue de la Porte de Trivaux, 92141 Clamart Cedex, France

6 Department of Pharmacology, University of Valencia, Av. Blasco Ibanez 17, 46010 Valencia, Spain

7 Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, National University of Ireland Galway, Clinical Science Institute, University College Hospital Galway, Galway, Ireland

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2007, 7(Suppl 1):S14  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-S1-S14

Published: 1 June 2007


The management of premature birth still remains unsatisfactory. Since the relative lack of efficiency and/or safety of current tocolytic agents have been highlighted, it is necessary to develop new uterorelaxant drugs deprived of important maternal and foetal side effects. Our work reported in this review focuses on a potential new target for tocolytic drugs, the β3-adrenoceptor (ADRB3). This third type of ADRB is shown to be present and functional in human myometrium. We demonstrated that ADRB3 agonists are able to inhibit in-vitro spontaneous contractions of myometrial strips, via a cyclic AMP-mediated pathway. Furthermore, we established that ADRB3 is the predominant subtype over the ADRB2 in human myometrium and that its expression is increased in near-term myometrium, compared to non-pregnant myometrium. Finally, we reported that contrary to ADRB2, the human myometrial ADRB3 is resistant to long-term agonist-induced desensitisation. These compelling data confirm the clinical potential interest of ADRB3 agonists in the pharmacological management of preterm labour.