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The fetus is encapsulated by membranes that contain the extraembryonic fluid and serve as a barrier to the extra-uterine world. These membranes are composed of cells and an extracellular matrix that imparts tensile strength. The fetal membranes usually break during the process of delivery. Premature rupture of the membranes exposes the fetus and the mother to risks of infection ascending from the lower reproductive tract. The loss of amniotic fluid and resulting compression of the fetal living space also poses a risk to fetal development. buy cipro
Recent observations indicated that the normal process of fetal membrane rupture is facilitated, at least in part, by structural changes in the membranes that precede the onset of active labor. These structural changes include degradation of fibrillar collagens in association with the up-regulation of interstitial colla-genase activity and apoptotic death of amnion cells. A gelatinase, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, is also induced. This enzyme breaks down denatured fibrillar collagen, the product of the interstitial collagenase reaction, as well as native type IV collagen.
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