Relaxin regulation of endometrial structure and function in the rhesus monkey

Laura T. Goldsmith, Gerson Weiss, Smita Palejwala, Tony M. Plant, Andrea Wojtczuk, W. Clark Lambert, Nael Ammur, Debra Heller, Joan H. Skurnick, Dean Edwards, Donna M. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Despite the documented importance of the protein hormone relaxin in reproduction in various mammalian species, the role of relaxin in human reproduction is poorly understood, largely because of the lack of studies in women or in suitable non-human primate models. Here we describe the establishment of a non-human primate model of early human pregnancy and its use in defining the actions of relaxin. Results demonstrate that relaxin exerts dramatic uterine effects including pronounced increase in uterine weight and stimulation of endometrial angiogenesis and resident endometrial lymphocyte number. In addition, relaxin decreases endometrial levels of matrix metalloproteinases 1 and 3 and increases levels of their endogenous inhibitor, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1, resulting in maintenance of endometrial collagen content. Relaxin significantly inhibits endometrial levels of estrogen receptor α, but not β, and of progesterone receptor isoforms A and B. The findings that relaxin stimulates new blood vessel formation and increases cytokine-containing lymphocyte number while maintaining endometrial connective tissue integrity are consistent with a significant role of relaxin in the establishment and/or maintenance of early pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4685-4689
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


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