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Investigations into the Inhibitory Effects of Relaxin on Renal Myofibroblast Differentiation


Address for correspondence: Dr. Chrishan S. Samuel, Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia. Voice: +6 1 3 8344 0416; fax: +61 3 9348 1707.


Derived from fibroblasts, myofibroblasts are the principal cells that are responsible for the synthesis and reorganization of excess matrix in renal interstitial fibrosis. Recognized from their de novo expression of α-smooth muscle actin, myofibroblast differentiation and activity can be influenced by several factors, including a combination of growth factors and other soluble mediators, extracellular matrix components, and mechanical stress. Relaxin has previously been shown to inhibit renal myofibroblast differentiation in vitro, an effect partly mediated through its ability to interfere with the transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) pathway via inhibition of Smad2 phosphorylation and translocation. Furthermore, endogenous relaxin has been shown to protect the kidney from a myofibroblast-mediated model of injury in vivo. However, the pathways involved in the interaction between relaxin and TGF-β1 remain unknown. In this report, the inhibitory actions of relaxin on TGF-β1-induced renal myofibroblast differentiation are summarized to date, and the potential signaling pathways that are implicated in relaxin's inhibitory actions are discussed.

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