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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Increased activity of endogenous endothelin in patients with hypercholesterolemia.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to assess the activity of endogenous endothelin-1 (ET-1) in hypercholesterolemic patients using antagonists of ET-1 receptors. BACKGROUND: Endothelial dysfunction in hypercholesterolemic patients may contribute to their risk of premature atherosclerosis. Endothelin, a peptide released by endothelial cells, may be involved in this process by activating smooth muscle cell mitogenesis and leukocyte adhesion. METHODS: Forearm blood flow (FBF) responses (strain-gauge plethysmography) to intra-arterial infusion of a selective blocker of ETA receptors (BQ-123) and, on a separate occasion, to ET-1 were measured in 12 hypercholesterolemic patients and 12 normal control subjects. In addition, on a different day, six hypercholesterolemic patients received co-infusion of BQ- 123 and BQ-788 (a selective blocker of ETB receptors). RESULTS: In normal subjects, BQ-123 did not significantly modify FBF from baseline (p = 0.78); however, in hypercholesterolemic patients, BQ-123 administration resulted in a significant vasodilator response (p < 0.001). Administration of exogenous ET-1 resulted in similar vasoconstrictor responses in patients (37%) and control subjects (35%) (p = 0.83). In hypercholesterolemic patients, the vasodilator response to selective ETA blockade was reversed by nonselective blockade of ET-1 receptors obtained by co-infusion of BQ-123 and BQ-788. CONCLUSIONS: The vascular activity of endogenous ET-1 is enhanced in hypercholesterolemic patients, whereas their sensitivity to exogenous ET-1 is unchanged. These findings suggest increased production of ET-1, which may participate in the pathophysiology of vascular disease characteristic of hypercholesterolemia.[1]


  1. Increased activity of endogenous endothelin in patients with hypercholesterolemia. Cardillo, C., Kilcoyne, C.M., Cannon, R.O., Panza, J.A. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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