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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43179. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043179. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Role of endothelin in the induction of cardiac hypertrophy in vitro.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Cell Biology and D Davis Heart Lung Research Institute, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States of America.


Endothelin (ET-1) is a peptide hormone mediating a wide variety of biological processes and is associated with development of cardiac dysfunction. Generally, ET-1 is regarded as a molecular marker released only in correlation with the observation of a hypertrophic response or in conjunction with other hypertrophic stress. Although the cardiac hypertrophic effect of ET-1 is demonstrated, inotropic properties of cardiac muscle during chronic ET-1-induced hypertrophy remain largely unclear. Through the use of a novel in vitro multicellular culture system, changes in contractile force and kinetics of rabbit cardiac trabeculae in response to 1 nM ET-1 for 24 hours can be observed. Compared to the initial force at t = 0 hours, ET-1 treated muscles showed a ~2.5 fold increase in developed force after 24 hours without any effect on time to peak contraction or time to 90% relaxation. ET-1 increased muscle diameter by 12.5 ± 3.2% from the initial size, due to increased cell width compared to non-ET-1 treated muscles. Using specific signaling antagonists, inhibition of NCX, CaMKII, MAPKK, and IP3 could attenuate the effect of ET-1 on increased developed force. However, among these inhibitions only IP3 receptor blocker could not prevent the increase muscle size by ET-1. Interestingly, though calcineurin-NFAT inhibition could not suppress the effect of ET-1 on force development, it did prevent muscle hypertrophy. These findings suggest that ET-1 provokes both inotropic and hypertrophic activations on myocardium in which both activations share the same signaling pathway through MAPK and CaMKII in associated with NCX activity.

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