The activities of Mg2+-ATPase (Mg2+-activated ATPase), (Ca2+ + Mg2+)-activated ATPase and (Na+ + K+)-activated ATPase have been determined in microsomes (microsomal fractions) obtained from rat myometrium under different hormonal conditions. Animals were either ovariectomized and treated for a prolonged period of time with 17 beta-oestradiol or progesterone, or myometria were obtained at day 21 of pregnancy. In each case the endometrium was carefully removed. The Mg2+-ATPase consists of two components: an inactivating labile component and a second constant component. The rate of ATP hydrolysis by the labile component of the Mg2+-ATPase declines exponentially as a function of time after adding the membranes to the assay medium; this inactivation is caused by the presence of ATP in the medium. This ATPase activity inhibited by ATP is catalysed by a labile enzyme and hence it gradually diminishes within a few hours, even when the microsomes are kept on ice. This labile component has the highest activity in microsomes from pregnant rats, a lower activity in progesterone-treated rats, and the lowest in 17 beta-oestradiol-treated rats. This component of the Mg2+-ATPase is not affected by 90 nM-oxytocin. The constant component of the Mg2+-ATPase must be ascribed to a different enzyme, which, in contrast with the labile component, is very stable and not affected by the hormonal status of the animal. This constant component of the Mg2+-ATPase is inhibited both by Ca2+-calmodulin, and by oxytocin in microsomes from pregnant and from progesterone-treated animals, whereas such inhibition does not occur in microsomes from 17 beta-oestradiol-treated animals. The activity of the (Na+ + K+)-activated ATPase is not dependent on the hormonal status of the animal. Myometrial microsomes present an ATP-dependent Ca2+ transport, irrespective of the hormonal condition, but only in microsomes obtained from rats treated with 17 beta-oestradiol, can a (Ca2+ + Mg2+)-activated ATPase activity be demonstrated. This activity can be stimulated by calmodulin.

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