Systemic and Endocrine Effects of Endothelin in Humans

  • H. Vierhapper


The endothelium is the key to a complex system of neural and humoral factors modulating vascular smooth muscle tone by producing both relaxing and constrictive factors including the three currently known members of the endothelin family, endothelin-1 (ET-1 [1]), ET-2 and ET-3. These three structurally related peptides correspond to two types of receptors, designated ETA and ETB. The hemodynamic effects of endothelin-1 have been extensively studied in various animal models. Furthermore an impressive bulk of data has been obtained in vitro and in vivo concerning the recently recognized importance of endothelins as regulatory factors in various endocrine tissues. Although endothelin-1 is secreted mainly abluminally [2] and may play a paracrine rather than an endocrine role, experiments evaluating the effects of pharmacological doses in man may help to interpret the effect of increased plasma concentrations of ET-1 which have been observed in various clinical conditions [3]. However, due to the difficulty arising from the use of such a potent vaso-pressor agent on an experimental basis in humans comparatively few such experiments have been performed in man.


Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome Plasma Aldosterone Concentration ACTH Stimulation Test Human Cerebrospinal Fluid 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

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  • H. Vierhapper

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