Comparative localization of leucine-rich repeat-containing g-protein-coupled receptor-7 (RXFP1) mRNA and [33P]-relaxin binding sites in rat brain: Restricted somatic co-expression a clue to relaxin action?

S. Ma, P. J. Shen, T. C.D. Burazin, G. W. Tregear, A. L. Gundlach

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Relaxin is a polypeptide hormone with established actions associated with reproductive physiology, but until recently the precise nature of the relaxin receptor and its transmembrane signaling mechanisms had remained elusive. In 2002 however, the leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor-7 (now classified as RXFP1) was identified as a cognate receptor for relaxin, with activation resulting in stimulation of intracellular cAMP production. These findings, along with the presence and putative actions of relaxin within the CNS and earlier descriptions of relaxin binding sites in brain, suggest the importance and feasibility of determining if these relaxin binding sites represent leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor-7 and their precise comparative distribution. Thus, the current study reports the distribution of leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor-7 mRNA throughout the rat brain using in situ hybridization histochemistry of [35S]-labeled oligonucleotides and the comparative distribution of [33P]-human relaxin binding sites. The extensive, topographical distribution of leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-proteincoupled receptor-7 mRNA throughout the adult rat brain correlated very closely to that of [33P]-relaxin binding sites. Leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor-7 mRNA was expressed by neurons in several brain regions, including the olfactory bulb, cerebral cortex, thalamus, hippocampus, hypothalamus, midbrain, pons and medulla. Receptor transcripts were most abundant in areas such as the basolateral amygdala, subiculum, deep layers of the cingulate, somatosensory and motor cortices and intralaminar/ midline thalamic nuclei. These areas also contained very high densities of [33P]-relaxin binding sites, suggesting a largely somatic localization of leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor-7 protein and site of action for relaxin peptide. The central distribution of relaxin-producing neurons has been described, while data on the topography of nerve terminals that contain and secrete the peptide are currently lacking; but overall these findings strongly suggest that leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor-7 is the cognate receptor for relaxin in the rat brain, and support a role for relaxin-leucine-rich-repeat-containing Gprotein-coupled receptor-7 signaling in various somatosensory, autonomic and neurohumoral pathways, which warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-344
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • G-protein-coupled receptor
  • In situ hybridization histochemistry
  • Insulin/Relaxin peptide family
  • Olfaction
  • Radioligand autoradiography

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