Relaxin, a pleiotropic vasodilator for the treatment of heart failure.
Relaxin is a naturally occurring peptide hormone that plays a central role in the hemodynamic and renovascular adaptive changes that occur during pregnancy. Triggering similar changes could potentially be beneficial in the treatment of patients with heart failure. The effects of relaxin include the production of nitric oxide, inhibition of endothelin, inhibition of angiotensin II, production of VEGF, and production of matrix metalloproteinases. These effects lead to systemic and renal vasodilation, increased arterial compliance, and other vascular changes. The recognition of this has led to the study of relaxin for the treatment of heart failure. An initial pilot study has shown favorable hemodynamic effects in patients with heart failure, including reduction in ventricular filling pressures and increased cardiac output. The ongoing RELAX-AHF clinical program is designed to evaluate the effects of relaxin on the symptoms and outcomes in a large group of patients admitted to hospital for acute heart failure. This review will summarize both the biology of relaxin and the data supporting its potential efficacy in human heart failure.
Teichman, SL; Unemori, E; Dschietzig, T; Conrad, K; Voors, AA; Teerlink, JR; Felker, GM; Metra, M; Cotter, G
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