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Am J Physiol. 1999 Apr;276(4 Pt 2):H1197-206.

Expression of endothelin-1, ETA and ETB receptors, and ECE and distribution of endothelin-1 in failing rat heart.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Ibaraki 300-2611, Japan.


Endothelin (ET)-1 has a positive inotropic effect and induces hypertrophy in cardiomyocytes. We previously reported that the peptide level of ET-1 is increased in the failing heart of rats with chronic heart failure (CHF) and that treatment with an ETA-receptor antagonist greatly improves survival in rats with CHF. However, precise analysis for alteration of the myocardial ET system in the failing heart is not known. In this study, we used rats with CHF due to chronic myocardial infarction. Sham-operated rats served as a control. The results showed that the level of preproendothelin (preproET)-1 mRNA and the peptide level of ET-1 were markedly increased in the heart of rats with CHF, whereas the expression of endothelin-converting enzyme (ECE)-1 mRNA in the heart did not differ between CHF and control rats. The intensity of ET-1 staining (ET-1-like immunoreactivity) in cardiomyocytes was markedly stronger in rats with CHF than in control rats, and the fibrotic tissues of the infarcted area were not stained. The mRNA and protein levels of both ETA and ETB receptors in the heart were significantly higher in rats with CHF than in control rats. The present study suggests that the increase in ET-1 peptide level in the heart of the rats with CHF originated from upregulation of preproET-1 mRNA, which was not attendant with the alteration of ECE-1 mRNA expression, and that both the ETA- and ETB-receptor systems are greatly accelerated in the failing heart.

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