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Am J Physiol. 1997 Mar;272(3 Pt 1):G605-11.

Endothelin-1 production by hepatic endothelial cells: characterization and augmentation by endotoxin exposure.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 78284-7760, USA.


Activation of endothelin (ET) receptors in the liver causes vasoconstriction, glucose production, and lipid and peptide mediator synthesis. In the intact rat, a bolus infusion of endotoxin into a mesenteric vein served as an acute exposure model of endotoxemia. In response to this challenge, a ninefold increase in hepatic ET-1 mRNA occurred within 3 h. The plasma level of immunoreactive ET-1 (irET-1) increased correspondingly by 8.5-fold within 6 h. ET-1 mRNA levels in liver endothelial cells (EC) isolated from livers of endotoxin-treated rats at various times after endotoxin challenge showed a more gradual increase. Northern blot analyses of the major liver cell types demonstrated that ET-1 mRNA was most abundant in the EC. The present results document a significant increase in the circulating level of irET-1 during episodes of endotoxemia. The increased hepatic ET-1 production in response to endotoxin infusion suggests that ET-1 produced in the liver could make a significant contribution to the plasma irET-1 and may be an important component in the hepatic responses to systemic trauma.

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