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

Endothelin as a neuropeptide. Cardiovascular effects in the brainstem of normotensive rats.

The relevance of endothelin in central cardiovascular function was studied in urethane-anesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats. Blood pressure (BP) was monitored intra-arterially, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was collected through an intracisternal catheter for radioimmunoassay of endothelin-1 (ET-1). Endothelin levels in the CSF were significantly higher (39 +/- 3 pg/ml) than in plasma (10 +/- 3 pg/ml, n = 11). ET-1 in CSF or plasma was not affected by systemic infusion of saline, but its levels significantly decreased when a sustained increase in BP was elicited with phenylephrine (14 +/- 7 pg/ml in the CSF and 6 +/- 4 pg/ml in plasma, n = 5). In sinoaortic-denervated animals, phenylephrine failed to reduce CSF endothelin levels. In different experiments, intracisternal administration of ET-1 (10 pmol) evoked an initial decrease in BP and heart rate (HR), followed by pronounced hypertension, bradycardia, and, in 70% of the animals, death from cardiorespiratory failure. Intracisternal administration of endothelin-3 (ET-3, 80 pmol, n = 11) evoked only a modest hypotensive and bradycardic response without cardiorespiratory impairment. Microinjection of ET-1 (0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 6 pmol/60 nl) into the nucleus of the solitary tract or area postrema produced a decrease in BP and HR. On the other hand, injection of low concentrations of ET-3 into the nucleus of the solitary tract increased BP and HR (at 2 pmol, 17 +/- 3 mm Hg, 14 +/- 6 beats per minute, n = 7), whereas ET-3 in the area postrema produced a prominent dose-related decrease in BP and HR. In the rostroventrolateral medulla, the lowest doses of ET-1 first modestly increased BP and renal sympathetic nerve activity. These effects were followed by hypotension, bradycardia, increase in respiratory frequency, and further enhancement of sympathetic nerve traffic. In 29% of the animals, these effects were followed by cardiorespiratory arrest. The specificity of the cardiovascular response to endothelin was demonstrated by the inhibitory effects of the receptor antagonist BQ-123. These results demonstrate that endothelin has specific cardiovascular effects in the brainstem of the rat and support a role for endothelin in cardiovascular regulation.[1]


  1. Endothelin as a neuropeptide. Cardiovascular effects in the brainstem of normotensive rats. Mosqueda-Garcia, R., Inagami, T., Appalsamy, M., Sugiura, M., Robertson, R.M. Circ. Res. (1993) [Pubmed]
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