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Endocrinology. 1992 Jun;130(6):3159-66.

Influence of ovarian steroids on relaxin-induced uterine growth in ovariectomized gilts.

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Department of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211.


This study examined the influence of ovarian steroids on the uterotropic actions of relaxin (RLX) in ovariectomized prepubertal gilts. Ovariectomized gilts received (im) corn oil (CO), estradiol benzoate (EB), or EB and progesterone (P) for 0-16 days. Steroid administration was patterned to approximate the plasma concentrations of endogenous ovarian steroids observed during 1) the follicular phase (EB), 2) luteal phase (EB+P), and 3) early pregnancy (EB+P+EB). Half of each group also received PBS or 0.5 mg RLX every 6 h for 54 h, coinciding with the final 2 days of the experimental period. After hysterectomy, uterine tissues were analyzed for water, dry matter, protein, DNA, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), and collagen contents. Administration of EB or P increased uterine weight 5- to 6-fold, but no differences were observed between EB+P- and EB+P+EB-treated gilts. Cotreatment with RLX enhanced steroid-induced uterine growth 40-70%, and RLX stimulated growth in CO- and EB+CO control gilts 2- to 3-fold. The water content of uterine tissues was greater in EB-, EB+P-, and EB+P+EB-treated gilts than in their respective controls, and this response was augmented by RLX in all treatment groups. Administration of steroids stimulated a 4- to 5-fold increase in uterine dry weight compared to that in controls, with responses not differing between EB+P- and EB+P+EB-treated gilts. In all groups, RLX increased uterine dry weight. Protein and DNA contents of uterine tissue increased with steroid treatment, but neither variable differed between EB+P- and EB+P+EB-treated gilts. Administration of RLX, alone or in combination with steroids, increased protein and DNA contents of uterine tissues. The tissue content of GAGs increased in response to steroids, and coadministration of RLX did not alter this response. Although the uterine tissue concentration of collagen was reduced in steroid- and RLX-treated gilts, the collagen content of the uterus was not affected by the various treatments. The results of this study indicate that RLX is a potent stimulator of uterine growth under a variety of steroidal environments. RLX- or steroid-induced uterine growth was manifest by increased water, dry matter, protein, and DNA and GAG contents, but the uterine content of collagen was not affected. The overall growth-promoting effects of EB and the stimulation of DNA accretion by RLX were not observed when gilts were cotreated with P.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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