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

Elevated endothelin-1 expression in dogs with heartworm disease.

We explored the involvement of endothelin-1 (ET-1) in the pathophysiology of dog dirofilariasis (heartworm disease caused by Dirofilaria immitis) by analyzing mRNA levels of preproendothelin-1 (PPET-1), the precursor form of ET-1, in cardiopulmonary organs as well as ET-1 peptide levels in plasma. To determine the cDNA sequence and primary protein structure of dog PPET-1, we performed molecular cloning of the full-length cDNA. Based on the determined sequence information, comparative expression analysis of PPET-1 mRNA was carried out by real-time polymerase chain reaction on cardiopulmonary organs from healthy (n=5) and filarial (n=5) dogs. Filarial dogs showed a significantly (p<0.05) higher mRNA expression level in the heart (about one hundred times) and lung (about ten times) than healthy dogs. Analysis of plasma ET-1 levels in healthy (n=10) and filarial (n=10) dogs showed that filarial dogs (6.9+/-2.7 pg/ml) have significantly (p<0.01) increased plasma ET-1 levels compared with healthy dogs (1.4+/-0.3 pg/ml). To assess the pathophysiological significance of ET-1 in dirofilariasis relative to other cardiopulmonary disorders, plasma ET-1 levels determined in dogs diagnosed with mitral regurgitation (n=10), tricuspid regurgitation (n=5), ventricular septal defect (n=5), and patent ductus arteriosus (n=5) were compared to plasma ET-1 levels in filarial dogs. Filarial dogs, which commonly develop serious pulmonary hypertension, exhibited by far the highest ET-1 levels of the disease states examined. Based on the fact that ET-1 is a potent bioactive mediator that induces vasoconstriction and promotes vascular remodeling, these findings suggest that ET-1 plays an important role in the pathophysiology of dog dirofilariasis as an aggravating factor by inducing pulmonary hypertension.[1]


  1. Elevated endothelin-1 expression in dogs with heartworm disease. Uchide, T., Saida, K. J. Vet. Med. Sci. (2005) [Pubmed]
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