Relaxin is a polypeptide hormone released by the corpus luteum (ovary), uterus, placenta and mammary gland. It plays an important role in pregnancy and childbirth, but there's still much mystery around the function of this multi-tasking hormone. Some of what we do know is that relaxin prevents uterine contractions early in pregnancy to avoid premature childbirth. During childbirth, it helps the cervix dilate and the vagina to soften and widen. In blood circulation, levels of relaxin rise after ovulation and lower again if pregnancy does not occur.  

Relaxin has also been discovered in men, although its function is even more unclear in men. Secreted by the prostate, it is found in semen. It is thought to assist the movement of sperm cells in the semen.

Recent findings show that relaxin also decreases tissue fibrosis in the heart, lungs, kidney and liver. It supports the growth of new blood vessels, helps heal wounds and is anti-inflammatory. Even though researchers are still figuring out what exactly it does, relaxin seems to be a pivotal hormone in various systems of the body, aside from just reproductive. Cool!

RebelliousPancreasWhat do you know about your pancreas? You're about to know a whole lot more!

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SebaceousAndPituitary Check out these awesome hand-sewn pituitary and sebaceous glands, thanks to jellyfishghost3 on instagram!
PinealMelatonin Pop quiz! What does your pineal gland do? Most people know it as a little blob in your brain that makes melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that's made when it gets dark outside. Your eye has  really cool photoreceptor cells that sense light, so it can tell the brain (and pineal gland) that it's time to start making melatonin. Melatonin makes you sleepy and lowers your body's temperature. Have you ever taken a trip to a different time zone? Even a change of one hour can be annoying, right? It's because your body already has an established "sleep/wake cycle." That means you will still get sleepy at the same time, but the daylight (or darkness) outside will not agree with you! Your body is used to making melatonin at similar times every day, so even if you fly halfway across the globe (a 12 hour difference), you will have jetlag: aka a hard time staying awake during a bright, sunny day! There's more. Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants keep cells from being damaged by free radicals. Read more about antioxidants and free radicals here!