The involvement of phosphoinositide hydrolysis in the action of oxytocin and vasopressin on the uterus was investigated in gestational myometrium and decidua cells by measuring the production of inositol phosphates. Both peptides stimulated a dose related increase in all three inositol phosphates in myometrium. This may be related to the control of sarcoplasmic Ca++ levels in the myometrium. Oxytocin and vasopressin also stimulated inositol 1-phosphate (IP) production in decidua cells. The hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol by decidua homogenates exhibited a precursor-product relationship for diacylglycerol and arachidonic acid accumulation. Hence both peptides may mobilise free arachidonic acid, for prostaglandin biosynthesis, from decidua cell phosphoinositides by the sequential action of phospholipase C and diacylglycerol lipase.

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