Relaxin (RLX) has come of age. From being one of the earliest hormones described with a very specific function in parturition, recent research has now shown that it is involved in a variety of roles, from endometrial differentiation during embryo implantation, to being a response factor in infarct and wound situations. It ameliorates fibrosis, and might also be involved in tumour growth and progression. And it is not alone: two other closely related peptide hormones have recently been identified, one specific for the brain, the other with roles in testicular descent and ovarian apoptosis. Finally, the recent cloning of the RLX receptors now provides the basis for a new molecular pharmacology for these peptide hormones, and preliminary studies suggest that their signal transduction is both interesting and unusual.