International Union of Pharmacology LVII: recommendations for the nomenclature of receptors for relaxin family peptides

Pharmacol Rev. 2006 Mar;58(1):7-31. doi: 10.1124/pr.58.1.9.


Although the hormone relaxin was discovered 80 years ago, only in the past 5 years have the receptors for relaxin and three other receptors that respond to related peptides been identified with all four receptors being G-protein-coupled receptors. In this review it is suggested that the receptors for relaxin (LGR7) and those for the related peptides insulin-like peptide 3 (LGR8), relaxin-3 (GPCR135), and insulin-like peptide 5 (LGPCR142) be named the relaxin family peptide receptors 1 through 4 (RXFP1-4). RXFP1 and RXFP2 are leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptors with complex binding characteristics involving both the large ectodomain and the transmembrane loops. RXFP1 activates adenylate cyclase, protein kinase A, protein kinase C, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and extracellular signaling regulated kinase (Erk1/2) and also interacts with nitric oxide signaling. RXFP2 activates adenylate cyclase in recombinant systems, but physiological responses are sensitive to pertussis toxin. RXFP3 and RXFP4 resemble more conventional peptide liganded receptors and both inhibit adenylate cyclase, and in addition RXFP3 activates Erk1/2 signaling. Physiological studies and examination of the phenotypes of transgenic mice have established that relaxin has roles as a reproductive hormone involved in uterine relaxation (some species), reproductive tissue growth, and collagen remodeling but also in the cardiovascular and renal systems and in the brain. The connective tissue remodeling properties of relaxin acting at RXFP1 receptors have potential for the development of agents effective for the treatment of cardiac and renal fibrosis, asthma, and scleroderma and for orthodontic remodelling. Agents acting at RXFP2 receptors may be useful for the treatment of cryptorchidism and infertility, whereas antagonists may be used as contraceptives. The brain distribution of RXFP3 receptors suggests that actions at these receptors have the potential for the development of antianxiety and antiobesity drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / classification
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / classification*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Receptors, Peptide / classification*
  • Receptors, Peptide / genetics
  • Receptors, Peptide / metabolism
  • Relaxin / chemistry
  • Relaxin / classification*
  • Relaxin / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Peptides
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Peptide
  • relaxin receptors
  • Relaxin