The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are members of discrete signal transduction pathways that have significant regulatory roles in a variety of biological processes, depending on the cell, tissue and organ type p38 MAPKs are involved in inflammation cell gowth and differentiation and cell cycle. In the female reproductive system, p38 MAPKs are known to regulate various aspects of the reproductive process such as mammalian estrous and menstrual cycles as well as early pregnancy and parturition p38 MAPKs have also been implicated in alterations and pathologies observed in the female reproductive system. Therefore, pharmacologic modulation of p38 MAPKs, and inter-connected signaling pathways (e.g., estrogen receptor signaling, c-fos, c-jun), may influence reproductive physiology and function. This article provides a critical, comparative review of available data on the roles of p38 MAPKs in the mammalian female reproductive system and in reproductive pathophysiology in humans and preclinical species. We first introduce fundamental differences and similarities of the mammalian female reproductive system that should be considered by toxicologists and toxicologic pathologists when assessing the effects of new pharmacologic agents on the female reproductive system. We then explore in detail the known roles for p38 MAPKs and related molecules in female reproduction. This foundation is then extended to pathological conditions in which p38 MAPKs are thought to play an integral role.
- P38 MAPK