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

The role of endothelin and endothelin receptor subtypes in regulation of fetal pulmonary vascular tone.

The physiologic role of endothelin-1 (ET-1) and its receptors in regulating fetal pulmonary vascular tone is unknown. We therefore investigated the role of ET-1 and its receptors in the regulation of fetal pulmonary vascular tone using BQ 123 (an ETa receptor antagonist) and 4 Ala ET-1 (an ETb receptor agonist). In six fetal sheep in utero, we found that injections of ET-1 (250 ng/kg fetal weight) into the left pulmonary artery increased left pulmonary blood flow (21.0 +/- 17.5 to 74.7 +/- 32.9 mL/kg/min, p < 0.05) and decreased left pulmonary vascular resistance (6.02 +/- 7.00 to 0.84 +/- 0.48 mm Hg/kg/min/mL, p < 0.05). BQ 123 (5 mg) increased pulmonary blood flow (24.6 +/- 28.7 to 47.7 +/- 27.4 mL/kg/min, p < 0.05) and decreased pulmonary vascular resistance (8.84 +/- 10.32 to 1.43 +/- 0.80 mm Hg/kg/min/mL, p < 0.05); 4 Ala ET-1 (1725 ng/kg) markedly increased pulmonary blood flow (8.6 +/- 6.8 to 69.4 +/- 23.1 mL/kg/min, p < 0.05) and decreased pulmonary vascular resistance (12.02 +/- 10.2 to 0.78 +/- 0.44 mm Hg/kg/min/mL, p < 0.05). The absolute increase in pulmonary blood flow produced by ET-1 was attenuated by glibenclamide (an ATP-dependent potassium channel blocker) (flow increase of 73.4 +/- 34.1 versus 49.3 +/- 16.8 mL/kg/min, p < 0.05). This study demonstrates that ETa receptor activation has a small role in maintaining basal fetal pulmonary vascular tone, and that specific ETb receptor activation produces marked pulmonary vasodilation. The increase in pulmonary flow produced by ET-1 in fetuses is partly mediated by ATP-dependent potassium channels.[1]


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