Plasma endothelin levels: A meaningless number?

A. Morganti, I. Marana, F. Airoldi, C. Alberti, B. Nador, S. Palatresi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endothelin (ET)-1 is a potent vasoactive peptide which is mostly secreted toward the vessel wall and the circulatory levels of which are quite low; for these reasons changes in plasma ET-1 may be difficult to detect even after the application of strong stimuli, which, in theory, should profoundly alter its production. We have examined the effects of a number of such stimuli and found that in humans the only one which consistently increased plasma ET-1 was the exposure to hypobaric hypoxia; moreover under these circumstances the increments in plasma ET-1 were correlated with the changes in pulmonary systolic pressure, suggesting a role of circulating ET-1 in the adaptation of pulmonary vessels to high altitude. In contrast no consistent changes of ET-1 were observed in response to sympathetic activation induced either by exposure to cold, standing, reduction in blood pressure and blood withdrawal. In response to angioplasty of renal artery stenosis a concomitant reduction in plasma ET-1 and angiotensin II (AngII) was observed in patients who, prior to angioplasty, had a high degree of activation of the renin system, supporting the possibility that in these specific conditions AngII may actually stimulate ET-1 production in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Endothelin-1
  • Hypoxia
  • Renin system
  • Sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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