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J Clin Invest. 1991 Jul;88(1):310-4.

Cyclosporine-induced synthesis of endothelin by cultured human endothelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Nephrology, St. Louis University, Missouri 63104.


Endothelin (ET), a peptide synthesized by endothelial cells (EC), causes a decreased renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate and an increased mean arterial pressure when infused in animals. In tissue culture, ET causes smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation and contraction by influx of extracellular calcium, which is inhibited by calcium channel antagonists. Infusion of cyclosporine (CSA) hemodynamically parallels ET action, and knowing that CSA effects EC, we hypothesize that the vasoconstrictive effects of CSA are a result of ET synthesis by EC. Varying concentrations of CSA were incubated with EC resulting in ET present in the supernatants in a dose-dependent manner peaking at 75% above basal activity. Coincubation of either cremophor alone or cycloheximide with CSA resulted in minimal ET present in the EC supernatants (P less than 0.01 each). Incubation of conditioned media from CSA-treated EC with SMC caused proliferation at 114% above basal activity, which did not occur in the presence of CSA alone (P less than 0.01). This activity is specifically inhibited in the presence of an anti-ET antibody or nonspecifically in the presence of calcium channel antagonists (P less than 0.01 each). Therefore, CSA stimulates EC synthesis of ET which in turn causes SMC proliferation. This action is inhibited by the coincubation of a specific antibody to ET or a calcium channel antagonist. These findings may help in the understanding of CSA-induced hypertension and vasculopathy.

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