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Am J Physiol. 1990 May;258(5 Pt 1):E864-70.

Endothelin receptors in human placenta: relationship to vascular resistance and thromboxane release.

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Department of Medicine, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York.


This investigation was performed to study the potential role of endothelin in the modulation of fetoplacental vascular resistance in the human placenta. Full-term placentas from uncomplicated pregnancies were studied within 30 min of delivery. The umbilical artery and vein to a single placental cotyledon were cannulated and the artery perfused with RPMI media (0.82 ml/min). Endothelin 1 caused a sustained dose-dependent increase in perfusion pressure. Infused endothelin 1 (50 nM) stimulated thromboxane release 2.3-fold compared with basal values. Thromboxane release persisted for 15 min after discontinuation of endothelin. Properties of human placental endothelin 1 receptors were defined in binding studies performed on a crude membrane fraction of placental cotyledons. Binding was saturable, reached steady state by 3 h at 25 degrees C, and was linear with protein concentration. Scatchard analysis of binding data indicated a single class of high-affinity binding sites with a Kd of 36.1 +/- 9.7 pM and a density of 185.4 +/- 9.6 fmol/mg protein (n = 5). The potency order for competitive inhibition of the binding of 125I-labeled endothelin 1 was endothelin 1 greater than endothelin 2 = endothelin 3 = sarafotoxin S6b greater than big endothelin (human) = big endothelin (porcine). Phenylephrine, bradykinin, norepinephrine, atrial natriuretic factor, diltiazem, U46619, and angiotensin II did not displace 125I-endothelin 1 from its receptors. These experiments demonstrate that endothelin 1 is a potent pressor substance in the human fetoplacental cotyledon. Pressor effects of endothelin may be mediated by a combination of direct effects and stimulation of vasoconstrictor prostanoids.

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