Relaxin in human pregnancy

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Apr;1160:130-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2008.03800.x.


Relaxin has beneficial effects upon the endometrium which are responsible for establishment of pregnancy. We have demonstrated that relaxin stimulates endometrial decidualization, the structural and biochemical changes in endometrial parenchymal cells, and the accompanying angiogenesis, modulation of matrix metalloproteinase activity, and increased concentrations in local immune cells which are required for implantation. Our recent data also demonstrate that either too much or too little relaxin can be detrimental. Elevated circulating maternal relaxin concentrations (hyperrelaxinemia) are associated with premature birth. This is likely due to the effects of relaxin at the level of the cervix, via upsetting the balance in the maintenance of cervical connective tissue architecture. In addition, the absence of circulating relaxin during pregnancy in women may have negative consequences upon glucose metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cervix Uteri / cytology
  • Cervix Uteri / metabolism
  • Endometrium / cytology
  • Endometrium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / metabolism
  • Relaxin / genetics
  • Relaxin / metabolism
  • Relaxin / physiology*


  • Relaxin
  • Glucose