Study Objective: To evaluate myometrial growth and development. Design: Thirty-five autopsy uteri, ranging from 10 weeks' gestation to age 18 years, acquired over 3 decades from 2 hospitals, were studied based on specimen availability, photographed for documentation, and reviewed at the end of the study. Most were embedded in toto, with 1 block and 1 slide per case. Some were immunostained for actin, CD10, MIB-1, and/or trichrome stain for collagen and muscle. Myometrial thickness was measured by ocular micrometry when sections were nontangential and analyzed by paired-sample t tests and bivariate linear regression. Setting: Two university-affiliated hospitals. Results: From 20 to 34 weeks, lateral wall corpus thickness increased 6-fold, with a 4- to 6-fold perinatal burst of growth ( P <.01) and a drop in thickness after the neonatal period ( P =.013). The corpus was thicker than the dome ( P <.01) but less thick than the lower uterine segment ( P =.087). The lower uterine segment was fully muscular in the second trimester, becoming more fibrous near term. Intramural, subserosal, and inframucosal myometaplasia were observed, as primitive stromal cells turned into muscle cells. Myometrial proliferation was brisk in the second trimester but greatly diminished in the perinatal period. Pressure effects from myometrial tone were observed during development. There was a pubertal burst of inframucosal myometaplasia. Conclusions: Myometaplasia accounted for most myometrial growth, especially in the perinatal and pubertal bursts of growth. Pressure effects, related to myometrial tone, appeared to affect myometrial development. True endocervix, with a fibrous wall and mucinous epithelium, appeared late in development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Lower uterine segment