Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Male seminal relaxin contributes to induction of the post-mating cytokine response in the female mouse uterus

Glynn, Danielle J.; Heng, Kee; Russell, Darryl L.; Sharkey, David J.; Robertson, Sarah A.; Anand-Ivell, Ravinder; Ivell, Richard


Danielle J. Glynn

Kee Heng

Darryl L. Russell

David J. Sharkey

Sarah A. Robertson

Richard Ivell


The hormone relaxin is important in female reproduction for embryo implantation, cardiovascular function, and during labor and lactation. Relaxin is also synthesized in males by organs of the male tract. We hypothesized that relaxin might be one component of seminal plasma responsible for eliciting the female cytokine response induced in the uterus at mating. When recombinant relaxin was injected into the uterus of wild-type (Rln+/+) mice at estrus, it evoked the production of Cxcl1 mRNA and its secreted protein product CXCL1 in four of eight animals. Mating experiments were then conducted using mice with a null mutation in the relaxin gene (Rln?/? mice). qRT-PCR analysis of mRNA expression in wild-type females showed diminished uterine expression of several cytokine and chemokine genes in the absence of male relaxin. Similar differences were also noted comparing Rln?/? and Rln+/+ females mated to wild-type males. Quantification of uterine luminal fluid cytokine content confirmed that male relaxin provokes the production of CXCL10 and CSF3 in Rln+/+ females. Differences were also seen comparing Rln?/? and Rln+/+ females mated with Rln?/? males for CXCL1, CSF3, and CCL5, implying that endogenous relaxin in females might prime the uterus to respond appropriately to seminal fluid at coitus. Finally, pan-leukocyte CD45 mRNA was increased in wild-type matings compared to other combinations, implying that male and female relaxin may trigger leukocyte expansion in the uterus. We conclude that male and/or female relaxin may be important in activating the uterine cytokine/chemokine network required to initiate maternal immune adaptation to pregnancy.


Glynn, D. J., Heng, K., Russell, D. L., Sharkey, D. J., Robertson, S. A., Anand-Ivell, R., & Ivell, R. (2017). Male seminal relaxin contributes to induction of the post-mating cytokine response in the female mouse uterus. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, Article 422.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 31, 2017
Publication Date Jun 19, 2017
Deposit Date Oct 23, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 23, 2017
Journal Frontiers in Physiology
Electronic ISSN 1664-042X
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Article Number 422
Keywords seminal relaxin, cytokines, endometrium
Public URL
Publisher URL


2017 Frontiers physiol Male seminal relaxin.pdf (1.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

You might also like

Downloadable Citations