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A non-hormonal model for emergency contraception: a prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2-specific inhibitor

Alison Edelman, Oregon Health Sciences University, 2009
See also executive summary and publication in Contraception.

Project abstract

Prostaglandin inhibitors may be a viable alternative to the currently available hormonal emergency contraceptive methods. Hormonal emergency contraception has a narrow window of action and works primarily by inhibition of ovulation, and therefore fails in women who use the method after release of the oocyte.

Studies conducted using several different animal models have shown that prostaglandins (PGs) play a critical role in ovulation, expansion of the cumulus-oocyte complex, as well as in the development and maintenance of the corpus luteum. Thus, their inhibition may prevent ovulation and provide contraception prior to fertilization and implantation, or prevent implantation and pregnancy by blocking proper luteal development.

This hypothesis is further supported by previously published primate studies demonstrating a requirement for PGs in ovulation and our published data implicating PGs as critical mediators of luteal development. Furthermore, we have obtained preliminary data demonstrating that daily administration of a prostaglandin-endoperoxide sythase-2 (PTGS2; also known as cyclooxygenase-2 or COX2) inhibitor throughout the menstrual cycle appears to delay the onset of the luteal phase in women.

Thus, this proposal will extend these findings to further test whether a PG synthesis inhibitor may serve as an emergency contraceptive by blocking both pre- and post-ovulatory events.

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