, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 195-203
Date: 17 Sep 2010


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Endothelin-1 is the most potent vasoconstrictor agent currently identified, and it was originally isolated and characterized from the culture media of aortic endothelial cells. Two other isoforms, termed endothelin-2 and endothelin-3, were subsequently identified, along with structural homologues isolated from the venom of Actractapis engaddensis known as the sarafotoxins. In this review, we will discuss the basic science of endothelins, endothelin-converting enzymes, and endothelin receptors. Only concise background information pertinent to clinical physician is provided. Next we will describe the pathophysiological roles of endothelin-1 in pulmonary arterial hypertension, heart failure, systemic hypertension, and female malignancies, with emphasis on ovarian cancer. The potential intervention with pharmacological therapeutics will be succinctly summarized to highlight the exciting pre-clinical and clinical studies within the endothelin field. Of note is the rapid development of selective endothelin receptor antagonists, which has led to an explosion of research in the field.