About RLN / Relaxin:
Relaxin is a hormone that the body produces during pregnancy. It helps to loosen up ligaments in preparation for childbirth. While this hormone has been used as an alternative treatment for chronic pain, there are some side effects and risks associated with it
Mechanisms of RLN are not yet fully understood. Currently, the leading theory is that Relaxin binds to a receptor in the cells of tissues and organs and initiates changes within these structures or nearby local cells through activation of intracellular signalling pathways.
As with any hormone, the final outcome of these changes is different for each person. Some women report experiencing more symptoms than others. The severity can range from mild to severe and this differs depending on how much RLN is released by your body during pregnancy. Generally speaking, most people will experience some type of symptom when under high levels of stress or as they age.
The protein has a polypeptide chain that is composed of three domains. Two hydrophobic amino acid sequences and one hydrophilic sequence create the three domains in the protein.
The three domains in the protein dictate how it behaves when interacting with other molecules. It is thought that one of these hydrophobic amino acid sequences interacts with a receptor site on the uterus, while the other interacts with a receptor site of hormones on the uterus. The protein is also made up of four interlocking alpha helices which are held together by hydrogen bonds, and one beta sheet with two strands that fold into each other to form parallel sheets. These structural features allow for flexibility in its function when interacting with other molecules.
A number of studies have investigated the interactions between relaxin and other hormones, as well as how changes in hormone levels affect blood pressure. (Carolyn Waugh). The most common interaction with relaxin is that it stimulates the release of estrogen from the ovaries, which can lead to menstrual irregularities such as amenorrhea or menorrhagia. (Carolyn Waugh). The only way to know for sure if someone is pregnant, regardless of pregnancy test results, is through a pelvic exam and ultrasound. (Carolyn Waugh)