Research team members (from left to right) Bridget Arman, Sally Beard, Bianca Fato, Natalie Binder, Natasha de Alwis, Natalie Hannan

A groundbreaking study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Melbourne and Mercy Hospital for Women has unveiled crucial findings regarding the widely-used tocolytic drug nifedipine. The team focused on addressing the significant global concern of preterm birth, which is linked to various health risks and newborn mortality.

As the demand for effective interventions against preterm birth grows, nifedipine has become a popular choice for delaying premature delivery. However, this study published in the prestigious journal Nature: Scientific Reports, highlights the potential benefits and limitations of nifedipine in tackling this urgent issue with DMT Myographs playing a pivotal role in the discoveries.

Local team focuses on global concern

 The Australian team’s focus on preterm birth addresses a significant global concern linked to various health risks and newborn mortality.

First author and PhD student, Bridget Arman from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne, emphasizes the study’s importance, “This study sheds light on the efficacy of nifedipine. While nifedipine effectively inhibits myometrial contractions, it does not appear to target the inflammatory pathways associated with preterm labor, which may explain its limited clinical effectiveness.”

DMT myographs provide fresh insights

The study is set apart by its comprehensive research methodology, which encompasses a wide range of in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models, ensuring the robustness and depth of the investigation. Notably, the use of DMT Myographs introduces a novel approach that produces new insights, further highlighting its significance.

Principal investigator, Professor Natalie Hannan, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne highlights the advantage provided by using DMT myographs in measuring human myometrial tissue:

“Our adaptation of the DMT myograph to measure human myometrial tissue in this study is innovative, highly sensitive, and a superior method compared to traditional tissue bath set-ups. This approach significantly enhanced the accuracy and reliability of our findings.” 

Myometrial strip contractility myography

The study employed human myometrial strip contractility myography to investigate the response of myometrial tissue samples. The tissue strips were prepared and mounted in individual organ baths (on DMT Muscle Strip Myograph 820 MS). Nifedipine or a control was applied, and changes in contractility parameters were measured using LabChart software. The results were compared to pre-treatment baseline contractions.

Future Directions

Overall, this study significantly advances understanding of nifedipine’s potential role in preterm birth and provides valuable insights that can inform future research as well as the development of more effective interventions to combat this global health concern.