Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pregnancy Hormone Induces Healthy Blood Vessels, Magee-Womens Research Institute Scientists Report

Date:
August 26, 2002
Source:
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Summary:
The pregnancy hormone relaxin induces a healthy physiological response in blood vessels, increasing dilation and benefiting blood pressure and kidney function, scientists at Magee-Womens Research Institute report in the August issue of the American Journal of Physiology, a publication of the American Physiological Society.

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 22 – The pregnancy hormone relaxin induces a healthy physiological response in blood vessels, increasing dilation and benefiting blood pressure and kidney function, scientists at Magee-Womens Research Institute report in the August issue of the American Journal of Physiology, a publication of the American Physiological Society. Specifically, relaxin affects kidney arteries by revving up production of nitric oxide in a layer of cells lining the inside of blood vessels called the endothelium. Finding the key to this physiologic response could have significant implications for the treatment of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.

"This study, which mainly targeted small renal arteries isolated from rats, is consistent with our earlier work showing that relaxin increases renal blood flow and kidney filtration by as much as 40 percent in non-pregnant rats," said Kirk P. Conrad, M.D., senior study author and an investigator at the Magee-Womens Research Institute. The hormone causes similar increases in kidney function during pregnancy.

"Linking relaxin with nitric oxide is another peptide hormone called endothelin which has a receptor on endothelial cells that increases nitric oxide," he added. It is the action of endothelin and nitric oxide that increases dilation in the blood vessels, improving blood flow.

"What happens to the cardiovascular and renal systems during pregnancy is in many respects the antithesis of changes associated with aging," continued Dr. Conrad, who is also professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and of cell biology and physiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "If we can discover the hormones responsible for these pregnancy changes and how they work, they might be useful for fighting high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke."

Cardiovascular disease remains the No. 1 killer of Americans.

"Relaxin is an ovarian hormone that was discovered in 1926," said Jacqueline Novak, Ph.D., primary study author and assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "When a woman becomes pregnant, relaxin rapidly increases in the blood. Changes in the renal circulation are nearly at their highest by the end of the first trimester of pregnancy."

Experiments have shown relaxin to be "a potent renal vasodilator even in male rats," said Dr. Novak.

"I don't know where this will go," added Dr. Conrad. "But our studies on relaxin suggest that it may be time to evaluate other female hormones besides estrogen for affects on cardiovascular health – particularly in light of the newest findings on hormone-replacement therapy."

In addition to Drs. Conrad and Novak, study authors include Rolando J.J. Ramirez, Ph.D., and Robin Gandley, Ph.D., both of the Magee Research Institute, and O. David Sherwood, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Funding for the study was provided by the National Institutes of Health.

Magee-Womens Research Institute is the country's first research institute devoted to women and infants. It was formed in 1992 by Magee-Womens Hospital of the UPMC Health System. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine's department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences is one of the top three departments in the country in National Institutes of Health funding.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Pregnancy Hormone Induces Healthy Blood Vessels, Magee-Womens Research Institute Scientists Report." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020826071536.htm>.
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (2002, August 26). Pregnancy Hormone Induces Healthy Blood Vessels, Magee-Womens Research Institute Scientists Report. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020826071536.htm
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Pregnancy Hormone Induces Healthy Blood Vessels, Magee-Womens Research Institute Scientists Report." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020826071536.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) A study suggests people who follow a "rule of thumb" when pouring wine dispense less than those who don't have a particular amount in mind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins