, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 277-284

Role of endothelin in diabetic vascular complications

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Abstract

Endothelin-1 (ET-1), a 21 amino acid peptide originally purified from conditioned medium of cultures of porcine aortic endothelial cells, is recognized as a product of many other cells as well. It is now known that there are three endothelin genes in the human genome (ET-1, ET-2, and ET-3). ET-1 and ET-2 are both strong vasoconstrictors, whereas ET-3 is a potentially weaker vasoconstrictor than the other two isoforms. Besides being the most potent vasoconstrictor yet known, ET-1 also acts as a mitogen on the vascular smooth muscle, and, thus, it may play a role in the development of vascular diseases. It is well known that accelerated angiopathy is a major complication in diabetes mellitus. As generalized endothelial cell damage is thought to occur in diabetic patients, ET-1, being released from the damaged endothelial cells, is able to make contact with the underlying vascular smooth muscle cells and thus could be one important cause of diabetic angiopathy. This article summarizes the reported literature of the role of ET-1 in the development of diabetic complications, with particular focus on the possible role of Et-1 in mediating the effects of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.