Modeling myometrial smooth muscle contraction

Limor Bursztyn*, Osnat Eytan, Ariel J. Jaffa, David Elad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Existing models of uterine contractions assumed a top-down approach in which the function at the organ or tissue level was explained by the behavior of smaller basic units. A new model of the excitation-contraction process in a single myometrial myocyte was recently developed. This model may be used in a bottom-up approach for the description of the contribution of cellular phenomena to the overall performance of the tissue or organ. In this review, we briefly survey current knowledge of uterine electrophysiology and contractility as well as current modeling techniques, which were successfully used to study the function of various types of muscle cells. In the physiological part of the review, we relate to mechanisms of intracellular Ca2+ control, Ca2+ oscillations, and Ca2+ waves and to the various membranal transport mechanisms regulating ion exchange between the intracellular and extracellular spaces. In addition, we describe the process leading from excitation to contraction. In the modeling part of the review, we present the Hodgkin-Huxley (HH) model of excitation in the squid axon as well as models of Ca2+ control and the latch-bridge model of Hai and Murphy describing the kinetics of smooth muscle cell (SMC) contraction.We also present integrative models describing more than one of these phenomena. Finally, we suggest how these modeling techniques can be applied to modeling myometrial contraction and thus may significantly contribute to current efforts of research of uterine function.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReproductive Biomechanics
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)1573316733, 9781573316736
StatePublished - Apr 2007

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Ca control
  • Hodgkin-Huxley
  • Latch-bridge model
  • Myometrial contraction


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