Background and purpose:The uterine pathophysiology underlying inflammatory conditions such as chorioamnionitis remains largely unclear. As we have shown that beta(3)-adrenoceptors act as regulators of myometrial inflammation, we wanted to investigate the potential role of beta(3)-adrenoceptors in preventing uterine remodelling induced by inflammation.Experimental approach:The consequences of human chorioamnionitis on myometrial remodelling were characterized by Sirius Red staining and metalloproteinase (MMP) expression, and compared with the effects of incubating human myometrial samples with Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in vitro. We also assessed the effect of SAR150640, a selective beta(3)-adrenoceptor agonist, on the production and activity of MMPs.Key results:Chorioamnionitis was associated with a 46% decrease in total collagen, as well as over-expression of MMP2 (+61%) and MMP9 (+84%); both effects were reproduced by incubation with LPS (10 mu g center dot mL-1, 48 h). LPS-induced over-expression of MMP2 and MMP9 in normal human myometrium was paralleled by an overactivity of the proteins. Both over-expression and overactivity were prevented by the beta(3)-adrenoceptor agonist SAR150640 in a concentration-dependent manner. SAR150640, by itself, did not exhibit any effect on MMP production in control tissues.Conclusions and implications:This study shows that inflammation was associated with an intense remodelling of human myometrium, a process likely to be explained by MMP activation. Our study emphasizes the potential therapeutic relevance of beta(3)-adrenoceptor agonists to the treatment of preterm labour and other uterine inflammatory conditions.