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J Hepatol. 1992 May;15(1-2):85-7.

Plasma endothelin levels in cirrhotic subjects.

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Dipartimento di Medicina e Oncologia Sperimentale, Ospedale San Vito, University of Turin, Italy.


Endothelin-1, a potent vasoconstrictor peptide with 21 amino acid residues, is released by the vascular endothelium. Plasma immunoreactive endothelin levels were measured in 23 patients with cirrhosis and in 20 healthy subjects. Concentrations were significantly lower in patients with non-uraemic cirrhosis than in normal subjects (19.4 +/- 8.9 pmol/l vs. 48.8 +/- 24.8 pmol/l, p less than 0.002). Plasma renin, aldosterone, atrial natriuretic peptide, arginine-vasopressin and catecholamines did not show significant correlations with plasma endothelin-1 levels. Furthermore, there were no significant differences in plasma endothelin levels for etiology of cirrhosis, presence of ascites or varices. These data suggest that low circulating endothelin may be involved in the development or maintenance of systemic vasodilatation in cirrhosis.

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