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

Role of endothelin in human hypertension.

Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a pleiotropic hormone produced primarily by the endothelium. Synthesis of ET-1 is stimulated by the major signals of cardiovascular stress, such as vasoactive agents (angiotensin II, norepinephrine, vasopressin, and bradykinin), cytokines (e.g., tumor necrosis factor alpha and transforming growth factor beta), and other factors, including thrombin and mechanical stress. ET-1 induces vasoconstriction, is proinflammatory, promotes fibrosis, and has mitogenic potential, important factors in the regulation of vascular tone, arterial remodeling, and vascular injury. These effects are mediated via two receptor types, ETA and ETB. The role ET-1 plays in normal cardiovascular homeostasis and in mild essential hypertension in humans is unclear. However, certain groups of essential hypertensive patients may have ET-1-dependent hypertension, including blacks (subjects of African descent), salt-sensitive hypertensives, patients with low renin hypertension, and those with obesity and insulin resistance. ET-1 has also been implicated in severe hypertension, heart failure, atherosclerosis, and pulmonary hypertension. In all of these conditions, plasma immunoreactive ET levels are elevated and tissue ET-1 expression is increased. Accordingly, it is becoming increasingly apparent that ET-1 plays an important role in cardiovascular disease and in some forms of hypertension in humans. Data from clinical trials using combined ETA-ETB receptor blockers have already demonstrated significant blood-pressure-lowering effects. Thus, targeting the endothelin system may have important therapeutic potential in the treatment of hypertension, particularly by contributing to the prevention of target organ damage and the management of cardiovascular disease.[1]


  1. Role of endothelin in human hypertension. Touyz, R.M., Schiffrin, E.L. Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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