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Eur J Clin Chem Clin Biochem. 1997 Mar;35(3):175-89.

The paracrine endothelin system: pathophysiology and implications in clinical medicine.

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Department of Nephrology, Universitätsklinikum Charité der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany.


Apart from the initially described vasoconstriction, endothelins have been shown to cause a variety of biological activities in non-vascular tissues. A rapidly growing body of data supports the concept of endothelin as a paracrine acting hormone. In this review, we will discuss the impact of this local endothelin system for various cardiovascular pathophysiological states, especially atherosclerotic vascular disease, restenosis, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and arterial hypertension. In addition, the endothelin system is a modulator of renal function via its binding to abundant receptors in renal tissue and by the ability of renal endothelial and epithelial cells to synthesize and release endothelin. In the kidney, endothelin may function as a paracrine/autocrine factor in the regulation of renal blood flow, glomerular haemodynamics, and sodium and water homeostasis. The renal endothelin system is involved in kidney diseases such as impaired renal function in liver cirrhosis, cyclosporin toxicity, acute renal failure and renal glomerular and interstitial fibrosis. Therapeutic approaches with new orally active endothelin receptor antagonists are also discussed.

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