AIMS: Poor myometrial contractility has been demonstrated in women at term with diabetes and decreased muscular mitochondrial content and/or function has been extensively implicated in the progression of type 2 diabetes. Alterations of the uterine mitochondrial phenotype in pregnant women with diabetes have yet to be investigated as a causal link to decreased myometrial contractility.
METHODS: Observational study of 18 women with diabetes (type 2 and gestational) scheduled for an elective Caesarean section at term with matching controls. A uterine biopsy and fasting blood samples were taken on the day of delivery.
RESULTS: Respiration rates in isolated mitochondria and myometrial mRNA levels of genes related to mitochondrial biogenesis were unaffected by diabetes. Mitochondrial quantity examined by quantification of the complexes of the respiratory chain and histology did not indicate alterations in mitochondrial quantity. Citrate syntase activity was higher (0.31 ± 0.02 vs. 0.24 ± 0.02 U/mg protein, P = 0.008), whereas protein content was lower in women with diabetes compared with the control group (94.6 ± 6.9 vs. 118.6 ± 7.4 mg/g wet wt, P = 0.027). Histological examinations did not support any structural alterations in the myometrium or its mitochondria.
CONCLUSION: No indication of decreased mitochondrial function, content, morphology, or localization in the myometrium at term in women with diabetes compared with controls was observed. The increase in citrate syntase activity in the myometrium could be explained by the lower protein content in the myometrium, which we suggest is due to alterations in tissue or cellular composition.