Aberrant uterine myometrial activities in humans are major health issues. However, the cellular and tissue mechanism(s) that maintain the uterine myometrium at rest during gestation, and that initiate and maintain long-lasting uterine contractions during delivery are incompletely understood. In this study we construct a computational model for describing the electrical activity (simple and complex action potentials), intracellular calcium dynamics and mechanical contractions of isolated uterine myocytes from the pregnant rat. The model reproduces variant types of action potentials - from spikes with a smooth plateau, to spikes with an oscillatory plateau, to bursts of spikes - that are seen during late gestation under different physiological conditions. The effects of the hormones oestradiol (via reductions in calcium and potassium selective channel conductance), oxytocin (via an increase in intracellular calcium release) and the tocolytic nifedipine (via a block of L-type calcium channels currents) on action potentials and contractions are also reproduced, which quantitatively match to experimental data. All of these results validated the cell model development. In conclusion, the developed model provides a computational platform for further investigations of the ionic mechanism underlying the genesis and control of electrical and mechanical activities in the rat uterine myocytes.
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