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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1989 Mar;68(3):627-31.

Human corpus luteum secretion of relaxin, oxytocin, and progesterone.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago 60612.


To determine whether the human corpus luteum is a source of relaxin and oxytocin, we measured the concentrations of these peptides in plasma obtained from the ovarian veins of ovaries with and without a corpus luteum and compared these to peripheral plasma levels. Peripheral and ovarian venous blood samples were obtained from 34 nonpregnant women, 13 during the luteal phase and 21 during the follicular phase of their cycles, and from a 6-week pregnant woman. Plasma relaxin, oxytocin, and progesterone concentrations were determined by sensitive and specific RIAs. Plasma relaxin levels were not detectable (less than 0.16 microgram/L) in peripheral or ovarian venous plasma not draining a corpus luteum. The mean relaxin concentration in plasma draining an ovary with a corpus luteum was 0.41 +/- 0.09 (+/- SE) microgram/L. Oxytocin levels also were significantly higher in plasma draining an ovary with a corpus luteum (6.70 +/- 1.86 pmol/L) than in that draining the ovary with no corpus luteum (1.58 +/- 0.09 pmol/L; P less than 0.01) or in peripheral plasma (1.58 +/- 0.09 pmol/L; P less than 0.025). The mean progesterone concentration also was highest in plasma draining an ovary with a corpus luteum (210.2 +/- 50.5 nmol/L) compared with those in plasma from the contralateral ovarian vein (40.3 +/- 16.5 nmol/L P less than 0.005) and peripheral plasma (30.2 +/- 5.7 nmol/L; P less than 0.005) during the luteal phase. In a woman who was 6 weeks pregnant, plasma draining the ovary with a corpus luteum had 1.9 micrograms relaxin/L, but only 0.49 pmol/L oxytocin; the latter was similar to concentrations in noncorpus luteum-bearing ovarian venous plasma. These findings indicate that the human corpus luteum secretes relaxin, oxytocin, and progesterone. Both ovarian oxytocin and relaxin may function as paracrine or autocrine modulators of luteal function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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