PloS one

A vasoactive role for endogenous relaxin in mesenteric arteries of male mice.

PMID 25243460


The peptide hormone relaxin has striking effects on the vascular system. Specifically, endogenous relaxin treatment reduces myogenic reactivity through nitric oxide (NO)-mediated vasorelaxation and increases arterial compliance in small resistance arteries. However, less is known about the vascular roles of endogenous relaxin, particularly in males. Therefore, we used male wild-type (Rln+/+) and relaxin knockout (Rln-/-) mice to test the hypothesis that passive wall properties and vascular reactivity in mesenteric arteries would be compromised in Rln-/- mice. Passive compliance was determined in arteries (n=8-9) mounted on a pressure myograph and in Ca2+-free Krebs containing 2 mM EGTA. Passive volume compliance was significantly (P=0.01) decreased in the mesenteric arteries of Rln-/- mice. Vascular reactivity was assessed using wire myography. In mesenteric arteries (n=5) of Rln-/- mice, there was a significant (P<0.03) increase in sensitivity to the vasoconstrictors phenylephrine and thromboxane-mimetic U41669. This enhanced responsiveness to vasoconstrictors was abolished by endothelial denudation, and attributed to impaired NO and prostanoid pathways in Rln-/- mice. Sensitivity to the endothelial agonist acetylcholine was significantly (n=7-9, P ≤ 0.03) decreased, and this was abolished in the presence of the cyclooxygenase inhibitor, indomethacin (2 µM). This indicates that prostanoid vasoconstrictor pathways were upregulated in the mesenteric arteries of Rln-/- mice. In summary, we demonstrate endothelial dysfunction and impaired arterial wall remodeling in male mice deficient in relaxin. Thus, our results highlight a role for endogenous relaxin in the maintenance of normal mesenteric artery structure and function in males.