Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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A polypeptide hormone secreted by the corpus luteum of many mammals during pregnancy. Relaxin facilitates the birth process by causing a softening and lengthening of the pubic symphysis and cervix; it also inhibits contraction of the uterus and may play a role in timing of parturition. In humans, however, relaxin is at its highest concentration in early pregnancy, leading researchers to believe that it is involved in the implantation of the blastocyst. Animal extracts of relaxin can be used to induce labor. Aka cervilaxin, ovarian hormone, releasin.

Cf. insulin-like growth factor.

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