Cyclooxygenase-1-selective inhibition prolongs gestation in mice without adverse effects on the ductus arteriosus

Charles D. Loftin, Darshini B. Trivedi, Robert Langenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Preterm delivery is the leading cause of neonatal mortality and contributes significantly to infant morbidity. Classical cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors, such as indomethacin, which inhibit both COX-1 and COX-2, are effective for delaying premature labor, but their use is limited by serious complications to the fetus and neonate, including adverse effects on the ductus arteriosus (DA). Using isoform-selective inhibitors, we characterized the roles of the COX isoforms in the initiation of labor and the regulation of fetal and neonatal DA closure in mice. Chronic inhibition of COX-2 during pregnancy (gestation days 15-18) significantly increased neonatal mortality by preventing closure of the DA after birth, whereas acute COX-2 inhibition near the end of term (gestation day 18) constricted the fetal DA. In contrast, the inhibition of COX-1 during pregnancy lacked these prenatal and postnatal adverse effects on the DA and effectively delayed the initiation of full-term labor and LPS-induced preterm labor. These findings suggest that premature fetal DA closure or neonatal patent DA observed following indomethacin tocolysis in women may result from the inhibition of COX-2. Therefore, COX-1-selective inhibitors may provide effective treatment to delay preterm labor with fewer adverse effects on fetal or neonatal health than nonselective or COX-2-selective inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-557
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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