End O ' The Line Revisited: Moving on from nitric oxide to CGRP

Jo G. R. De Mey, Paul M. Vanhoutte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


When endothelin-1 (ET-1) was discovered it was hailed as the prototypical endothelium-derived contracting factor (EDCF). However, over the years little evidence emerged convincingly demonstrating that the peptide actually contributes to moment-to-moment changes in vascular tone elicited by endothelial cells. This has been attributed to the profound inhibitory effect of nitric oxide (NO) on both the production (by the endothelium) and the action (on vascular smooth muscle) of ET-1. Hence, the peptide is likely to initiate acute changes in vascular diameter only under extreme conditions of endothelial dysfunction when the NO bioavailability is considerably reduced if not absent. The present essay discusses whether or not this concept should be revised, in particular in view of the potent inhibitory effect exerted by calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) released from sensorimotor nerves on vasoconstrictor responses to ET-1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-128
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2014


  • Arterial blood pressure
  • Calcitonin gene related peptide
  • Endothelin-1
  • Endothelium
  • ETA receptors
  • ETB receptors
  • Exocytosis
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Oxidative stress
  • Vascular tone


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