These studies were undertaken to evaluate the changes in mRNA expression of prostaglandin H synthase (PGHS)-1 and -2 in murine gestational tissues during the latter half of pregnancy. Gestational tissues (decidual caps, membranes surrounding the fetus, and placentae), uterus, and cervix were collected from pregnant mice at days 12, 14, 16, 18, and 19 (am and pm) of gestation (n = 4), and total RNA was isolated and evaluated for PGHS-1 and PGHS-2 expression by northern blot analysis. Expression was normalized to GAPDH. There were no significant increases in PGHS-2 mRNA expression in any of the tissues studied through gestation. In contrast, expression of PGHS-1 mRNA increased significantly at term in the uterus and fetal membranes. In the placenta, mRNA for PGHS-1 was elevated at day 18 and remained elevated over the remainder of the study. These findings suggest that, in the mouse, increased production of PGs by uterine and intrauterine tissues during pregnancy is associated with up-regulation of PGHS-1 and not PGHS-2. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.