HORMONES AND CYTOKINES: Relaxin Is Potential Hypertension Drug

Connetics Corp. (3400 W. Bayshore Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94303; Tel: 650/843-2800, Fax: 850/843-2899; Website: www.connetics.com) and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (UMDNJ-RWJMS) presented data at the American Thoracic Society meeting that suggest relaxin could be an effective treatment for pulmonary hypertension by reducing fibrosis in the arteries of the lung, and by helping improve blood flow to the lung.

Relaxin is a naturally occurring human hormone known to have angiogenic and vasodilatory properties. These properties may help the body manage fibrosis in tissues where there is an overproduction of collagen, and may help increase new blood vessel growth and blood flow in tissues where there is restricted oxygen

“Our research demonstrated that relaxin, administered to animals with hypoxia- induced pulmonary hypertension, significantly inhibited the increase in right ventricular pressure as compared to the control. We believe relaxin increased the breakdown of vascula collagen and may have caused increased blood flow through vasodilation, which is consistent with relaxin’s mechanisms of action,” say Carol Tozzi and David Riley, scientists at UMDNJ-RWJMS that conducted the study.

Connetics manufactures a recombinant version of human relaxin. The company is conducting a pivotal trial with relaxin for the treatment of scleroderma and Phase I/II trials with relaxin for the treatment of infertility.

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