Prostaglandin E2 molecule

Prostaglandin E2 molecule

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Credit: LAGUNA DESIGN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Prostaglandin E2 molecule. Computer model showing the structure of the hormone prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Atoms are colour-coded (carbon: dark grey, hydrogen: light grey, oxygen: red). Like other prostaglandins PGE2 acts to widen blood vessels (vasodilation), thus lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow. It also relaxes smooth muscles and inhibits the release of noradrenaline. It softens the cervix and causes uterine contraction during labour, and is therefore used as a vaginal suppository (dinoprostone) to prepare the cervix for labour and also to induce labour.

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