Relaxin and its role in fibrotic diseases
Relaxin is a member of the insulin family of peptides. It is produced in the corpus luteum and/or placenta during pregnancy in mammals and is secreted into the blood where it has numerous essential endocrine functions. In addition to long-recognized roles in remodeling of reproductive tissues, it has an important role as a cardiovascular hormone during pregnancy with potent vasodilatory and renal actions. Additionally, relaxin has potent effects on collagen turnover in connective tissue. The positive effects of relaxin in induced fibrosis models show a significant role in ameliorating kidney, heart and lung fibrosis. Much work has thus been undertaken on the structure and function relationship of this peptide with the goal of understanding the molecular basis for relaxin's action and developing mimetics with potential therapeutic applications in fibrosis.