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Circ Res. 2000 Mar 3;86(4):377-85.

Selective upregulation of cardiac endothelin system in patients with ischemic but not idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy: endothelin-1 system in the human failing heart.

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Clinica Medica Generale e Cardiologia, University of Florence, Italy.


Only scarce information is available on the activity and modifications of the cardiac endothelin (ET)-1 system in heart failure due to ischemic (ICM) or idiopathic dilated (DCM) cardiomyopathy. The activity of the ET-1 system was investigated by measuring cardiac ET-1 and big ET-1 formation and quantifying cardiac mRNA for prepro-ET-1 (ppET-1), ET-converting enzyme-1, and ET(A) and ET(B) receptors both in myocardium and in isolated myocytes using Northern blot, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, and in situ hybridization in 22 patients with DCM and 20 with ICM who underwent cardiac transplantation and in 7 potential heart transplant donors (nonfailing hearts). Notwithstanding a similar increase of plasma ET-1 in the 2 groups, cardiac ET formation, mRNA levels for ppET-1, and ET(A) and ET(B) receptors were higher on both the myocardium and isolated myocytes from ICM than on those from DCM hearts (P<0.001 for all). ppET-1 and ET-converting enzyme-1 mRNAs were expressed on myocytes and endothelial and interstitial cells in ICM, whereas in DCM and nonfailing hearts they were mainly expressed on nonmyocyte cells. In both ICM and DCM, the ET(A) mRNA signal was expressed on both myocytes and nonmyocyte cells, whereas ET(B) mRNA was almost exclusively localized on nonmyocyte cells. ET(A)- and ET(B)-specific receptor binding was increased on both myocytes and cardiac membranes, showing a positive correlation with left ventricular ejection fraction in ICM (r=0.78 and 0.70) but not in DCM patients. The present results show that human ventricular myocytes express all of the components of the ET-1 system, which is selectively upregulated in ICM patients and appears to be functionally important in the maintenance of cardiac function.

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