Objectives— To compare the expression of canine relaxin, relaxin-like factor (RLF), and relaxin receptors within the muscles of the pelvic diaphragm of dogs with perineal hernia (PH) and clinically normal dogs.
Study Design— In vivo comparative study.
Animals— Fifteen client-owned intact male dogs with PH were studied. Four mature intact male dogs with no evidence of perineal pathology served as controls.
Methods— Biopsy samples from the levator ani, coccygeus, and internal obturator muscles were obtained. RNA samples were reverse transcribed and analyzed by real-time PCR for the expression of canine relaxin receptor LRG7, relaxin, and RLF.
Results— Significantly higher expression levels of canine relaxin receptors occurred in the musculature of the pelvic diaphragm and internal obturator muscle in dogs with PH compared with normal dogs. Expression of canine RLF revealed no significant difference between dogs with PH and controls. The difference in the expression of canine relaxin between groups was not statistically significant.
Conclusions— Relaxin receptor up-regulation occurs in the coccygeus, levator ani, and internal obturator muscles of dogs with PH.
Clinical Relevance— The higher expression of relaxin receptors within the muscles of the pelvic diaphragm in dogs with PH suggests that relaxin might play a role in the pathogenesis of PH. Atrophy of these muscles, which predisposes to PH, may be attributable to increased relaxin activity.