Author(s): Cameron IT, Bacon CR, Collett GP, Davenport AP
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Abstract The endothelins (ETs) comprise a family of 21 amino acid peptides, ET-1, ET-2 and ET-3, first demonstrated as products of vascular endothelium. Subsequent work showed that they are also found in non-endothelial cells from a variety of tissues such as breast, parathyroid and adrenal gland. At first, the ETs were recognized for their pressor effects. However, ET administration in vivo initially caused hypotension at low concentrations by triggering the paracrine release of endothelial-derived vasodilators. The ETs exert powerful contractile actions on myometrium and other types of smooth muscle and are mitogenic, or co-mitogenic for fibroblasts, vascular smooth muscle and other cells. Demonstration of extravascular ET in endometrium has revealed a powerful vasoconstrictor which might act on the spiral arterioles to effect a powerful and sustained contraction of vascular smooth muscle. ETs might also contribute to the process of endometrial repair. In addition, the ETs appear to play a fundamental role in the control of uterine function in pregnancy. Effects on myometrial contractility have been implicated in the mechanisms governing the onset of normal and pre-term labour, and the peptides are likely to be key determinants of placental blood flow by binding to vascular smooth muscle receptors in the placenta.
This article was published in J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access