The effects of pure porcine relaxin and of human decidual extracts with relaxin-like activity on the mammary gland of virgin mice primed with estrogen have been studied by the light microscope. Porcine relaxin enhanced the changes induced by estrogen alone; the effect was different in the various mammary tissues. In the stroma, relaxin only slightly increased the loosening of connective tissue, the extent of the adipose tissue and of the capillary bed, as well as the degranulation of the mast cells. The changes in the parenchyma, such as elongation and branching of ducts, are strikingly enhanced. Moreover, relaxin seems to promote differentiation of the cells forming the walls of distal ducts, and of the myoepithelial cells. Tissue extracts of human decidua with relaxin-like activity induce changes in the mammary gland similar to those due to porcine relaxin. Such data indicate that relaxin synergizes with estrogen to cause growth of ducts of the mammary gland and that tissue extracts of human decidua have a similar effect, thus providing further evidence that decidua may be a source of relaxin in humans.

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