Jennifer L. Herington, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

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Faculty Appointments
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
Ph.D., Molecular, Cellular and Systemic Physiology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IllinoisB.S., Physiology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
Office Address
2215B Garland Ave, 1125 Light Hall, Nashville, TN
Nashville, TN 37232
Research Description
The Herington laboratory is focused on interventional approaches to regulate uterine contractions and efforts to better understand the mechanism of uterine contractility. Current treatments are limited in scope and efficacy, often adversely affecting both the mother and her offspring. Our laboratory has established a drug discovery strategy to identifying novel regulators of uterine myometrial contractility. Our laboratory is equipped for high-throughput screening of small-molecules in an ex vivo cell-based assay, testing of hit-molecules in an ex vivo tissue contractility assay and pre-clinical in vivo testing in mouse models of preterm labor. Other experimental approaches include: traditional cell/molecular biology to elucidate mechanisms of action. Our laboratory utilizes mouse and human uterine myometrial tissue samples, mouse models of preterm labor, and transgenic mouse models of delayed parturition.

My commitment to a career focused on maternal-fetal interactions during pregnancy and labor was initiated during my doctoral studies, where I established in vivo mouse models to examine the important effect of the embryo on maternal uterine changes necessary for the establishment of pregnancy. Specifically, use of mouse models of artificially-induced decidualization, allowed examination into the molecular and paracrine signaling between the embryo and uterus during the processes of implantation and decidualization. I have continued interests and enthusiasm in research centered on maternal-fetal interactions during early pregnancy. Through current collaborations with Dr. Bibhash C. Paria's, I have been fortunate to assist with research projects focused on: 1) improved understanding of the process of blastocyst implantation using mouse and hamster models and 2) exploring new therapeutic strategies for attenuating endotoxin-induced early pregnancy defects.

While a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Jeff Reese, I evaluated the mechanisms responsible for the delayed parturition phenotype of cyclooxygenase-1 knockout (Cox-1KO) mice. While unhindered uterine contractile function was observed in Cox-1KO pregnant females, an impaired cervical dilation phenotype was determined to contribute to parturition phenotype of these mice. Dr. Reese and I continue collaborative efforts to examine uterine and cervical function in mouse models of delayed parturition. Specifically, we utilize in vivo Raman spectroscopy to assess in vivo assessment cervical molecular changes during normal and impaired cervical remodeling in mouse models used to study pregnancy.

Vanderbilt Preventing adverse Pregnancy outcomes & Prematurity (Pre3) Initiative profile:
Research Keywords
pregnancy, parturition, uterine contractility, myometrium, embryo implantation, small molecule regulators
Clinical Research Keywords
Preterm birth, preterm labor, uterine atony, postpartum hemorrhage
Herington JL, O'Brien C, Robuck MF, Lei W, Brown N, Slaughter JC, Paria BC, Mahadevan-Jansen A, Reese J. Prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 1 (Ptgs1) mediates the timing of parturition in mice despite unhindered uterine contractility. Endocrinology [print-electronic]. 2017 Sep 9/29/2017; PMID: 29029054, PII: 4210435, DOI: 10.1210/en.2017-00647, ISSN: 1945-7170.

McCoy AM, Herington JL, Stouch AN, Mukherjee AB, Lakhdari O, Blackwell TS, Prince LS. IKKß Activation in the Fetal Lung Mesenchyme Alters Lung Vascular Development but Not Airway Morphogenesis. Am. J. Pathol [print-electronic]. 2017 Sep 9/18/2017; PMID: 28923684, PII: S0002-9440(17)30547-3, DOI: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2017.08.013, ISSN: 1525-2191.

O'Brien CM, Herington JL, Brown N, Pence IJ, Paria BC, Slaughter JC, Reese J, Mahadevan-Jansen A. In vivo Raman spectral analysis of impaired cervical remodeling in a mouse model of delayed parturition. Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 7/28/2017; 7(1): 6835. PMID: 28754971, PMCID: PMC5533720, PII: 10.1038/s41598-017-07047-5, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-07047-5, ISSN: 2045-2322.

Herington JL, Guo Y, Reese J, Paria BC. Gene profiling the window of implantation: Microarray analyses from human and rodent models. J Reprod Health Med [print-electronic]. 2016 Dec; 2(Suppl 2): S19-S25. PMID: 28239559, PMCID: PMC5321051, DOI: 10.1016/j.jrhm.2016.11.006.

Lei W, Ni H, Herington J, Reese J, Paria BC. Alkaline phosphatase protects lipopolysaccharide-induced early pregnancy defects in mice. PLoS ONE. 2015; 10(4): e0123243. PMID: 25910276, PMCID: PMC4409290, PII: PONE-D-15-04551, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123243, ISSN: 1932-6203.

Herington JL, Swale DR, Brown N, Shelton EL, Choi H, Williams CH, Hong CC, Paria BC, Denton JS, Reese J. High-Throughput Screening of Myometrial Calcium-Mobilization to Identify Modulators of Uterine Contractility. PLoS ONE. 2015; 10(11): e0143243. PMID: 26600013, PMCID: PMC4658040, PII: PONE-D-15-12311, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143243, ISSN: 1932-6203.

Lei W, Herington J, Galindo CL, Ding T, Brown N, Reese J, Paria BC. Cross-species transcriptomic approach reveals genes in hamster implantation sites. Reproduction [print-electronic]. 2014 Dec; 148(6): 607-21. PMID: 25252651, PMCID: PMC4230993, PII: REP-14-0388, DOI: 10.1530/REP-14-0388, ISSN: 1741-7899.

Bruner-Tran KL, Herington JL, Duleba AJ, Taylor HS, Osteen KG. Medical management of endometriosis: emerging evidence linking inflammation to disease pathophysiology. Minerva Ginecol. 2013 Apr; 65(2): 199-213. PMID: 23598784, PMCID: PMC3718308, PII: R09133452, ISSN: 0026-4784.

Herington JL, Glore DR, Lucas JA, Osteen KG, Bruner-Tran KL. Dietary fish oil supplementation inhibits formation of endometriosis-associated adhesions in a chimeric mouse model. Fertil. Steril [print-electronic]. 2013 Feb; 99(2): 543-50. PMID: 23103017, PMCID: PMC3582352, PII: S0015-0282(12)02307-2, DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.10.007, ISSN: 1556-5653.

Herington JL, Bruner-Tran KL, Lucas JA, Osteen KG. Immune interactions in endometriosis. Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2011 Sep; 7(5): 611-26. PMID: 21895474, PMCID: PMC3204940, DOI: 10.1586/eci.11.53, ISSN: 1744-8409.

Herington JL, Crispens MA, Carvalho-Macedo AC, Camargos AF, Lebovic DI, Bruner-Tran KL, Osteen KG. Development and prevention of postsurgical adhesions in a chimeric mouse model of experimental endometriosis. Fertil. Steril [print-electronic]. 2011 Mar 3/15/2011; 95(4): 1295-301.e1. PMID: 20934690, PMCID: PMC3038191, PII: S0015-0282(10)02547-1, DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.09.017, ISSN: 1556-5653.

Herington JL, Bany BM. Do molecular signals from the conceptus influence endometrium decidualization in rodents?. J. Exp. Zool. B Mol. Dev. Evol. 2009 Dec 12/15/2009; 312(8): 797-816. PMID: 19551814, PMCID: PMC2844778, DOI: 10.1002/jez.b.21308, ISSN: 1552-5015.

Herington JL, Underwood T, McConaha M, Bany BM. Paracrine signals from the mouse conceptus are not required for the normal progression of decidualization. Endocrinology [print-electronic]. 2009 Sep; 150(9): 4404-13. PMID: 19520782, PMCID: PMC2736086, PII: en.2009-0036, DOI: 10.1210/en.2009-0036, ISSN: 1945-7170.

Herington JL, Bi J, Martin JD, Bany BM. Beta-catenin (CTNNB1) in the mouse uterus during decidualization and the potential role of two pathways in regulating its degradation. J. Histochem. Cytochem [print-electronic]. 2007 Sep; 55(9): 963-74. PMID: 17533218, PII: jhc.7A7199.2007, DOI: 10.1369/jhc.7A7199.2007, ISSN: 0022-1554.

Herington JL, Bany BM. The conceptus increases secreted phosphoprotein 1 gene expression in the mouse uterus during the progression of decidualization mainly due to its effects on uterine natural killer cells. Reproduction. 2007 Jun; 133(6): 1213-21. PMID: 17636175, PMCID: PMC2613481, PII: 133/6/1213, DOI: 10.1530/REP-07-0085, ISSN: 1470-1626.

Herington JL, Bany BM. Effect of the conceptus on uterine natural killer cell numbers and function in the mouse uterus during decidualization. Biol. Reprod [print-electronic]. 2007 Apr; 76(4): 579-88. PMID: 17151350, PMCID: PMC2275212, PII: biolreprod.106.056630, DOI: 10.1095/biolreprod.106.056630, ISSN: 0006-3363.