Relaxin of prostatic origin might be linked to perineal hernia formation in dogs

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 May:1041:415-22. doi: 10.1196/annals.1282.062.


Perineal hernia occurs spontaneously in older male dogs after idiopathic weakening of the pelvic diaphragm. Hernias invariably contain cystic paraprostatic tissues. Castration reduces incidence and recurrence after surgical repair. Although cystic prostatic hypertrophy is a consistent feature in patients with perineal hernia, an endocrine link of the disease to steroid sex hormones has not been demonstrated. Employing immunohistochemistry, we found intense relaxin immunoreactivity in dogs with perineal hernia within the epithelia of hypertrophic prostates and in periprostatic tissues. The prostate of normal dogs exhibited similar but less intense relaxin staining. In neutered dogs with prostatic atrophy, relaxin immunostaining was weak or absent. Periprostatic cysts highly expressed relaxin precursors in the fluid phase as shown by SDS-gel electrophoresis. Relaxin of prostatic origin, therefore, is possibly a local factor in connective tissue weakening and subsequently in perineal hernia formation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Hernia / metabolism*
  • Hernia / pathology*
  • Male
  • Perineum / pathology*
  • Prostate / metabolism*
  • Relaxin / metabolism*


  • Relaxin