Author(s): Ergul A
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Abstract The prevalence of essential hypertension in blacks is much higher than that in whites. In addition, the pathogenesis of hypertension appears to be different in black patients. For example, black patients present with a salt-sensitive hypertension characterized by low renin levels. Racial differences in renal physiology and socioeconomic factors have been suggested as possible causes of this difference, but reasons for this difference remain unclear. Endothelial cells are important in the regulation of vascular tonus and homeostasis, in part through the secretion of vasoactive substances. One of these factors, endothelin-1 (ET-1), is a 21 amino acid residue peptide with potent vasopressor actions. In addition to its contractile effects, it has been shown to stimulate mitogenesis in a number of cell types. Moreover, ET-1 displays modulatory effects on the endocrine system, including stimulation of angiotensin II and aldosterone production and inhibition of antidiuretic hormone in the kidney. Recent data from several laboratories indicate that ET-1 is overexpressed in the vasculature in several salt-sensitive models of experimental hypertension. Moreover, circulating plasma ET-1 levels are significantly increased in black hypertensives compared with white hypertensives. Thus, the ET system might be particularly important in the development or maintenance of hypertension in this population.
This article was published in Hypertension
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Cardiology