Endothelin, a newly discovered endothelial-derived peptide, has been demonstrated in vitro to have potent vasocontractile properties and has been speculated to play a role in vivo in arterial pressure-volume homeostasis. The present studies in anesthetized dogs were designed to determine the action of endothelin on cardiovascular-renal and endocrine function in vivo as in acute arterial pressure-volume regulation. Intravenous infusion of endothelin (50 ng/kg per min) increases arterial pressure by increasing peripheral vascular resistance but in association with an increase in coronary vascular resistance and decreases in cardiac output. Renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate were markedly reduced in association with a sustained reduction in sodium excretion and an increase in plasma renin activity. Atrial natriuretic factor, vasopressin, and aldosterone were also elevated. These results indicate that endothelin is a potent vasoconstrictor that elevates systemic blood pressure in association with marked decreases in cardiovascular and renal function. This peptide may function as a counterregulatory hormone to the effects of endothelial-derived vasodilator agent(s).
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