Endothelin-1 and-2: Two amino acids matter

Matthijs G. Compeer, Dennis P. L. Suylen, Tilman M. Hackeng, Jo G. R. De Mey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aims: Endothelin-1 (ET-1) and endothelin-2 (ET-2; Trp(6)Leu(7)ET-1) are expressed by different cell types, but are considered to display identical pharmacological properties on endothelin receptors. We studied agonist-dependent aspects of endothelinA (ETA)-receptor function and the importance of amino acids 6 and 7 of ET-1 and ET-2 in this respect. Main methods: We used isolated rat mesenteric resistance arteries in wire myographs, in a setting that minimizes influences of endothelium and sensorimotor nerves, to study arterial smooth muscle ETA-receptor-mediated vasomotor responses, to ET-1, ET-2 and chimeras thereof (Trp(6)ET-1 and Leu(7)ET-1). Key findings: ET-1 and ET-2 cause arterial contractions with comparable sensitivities and maximal responses. BQ123 (ETA-antagonist) reduces sensitivity to ET-1 more potently than that to ET-2 (pK(B): 7.1 +/- 02 versus 5.6 +/- 0.4). However, 1 mu M BQ123 relaxes maximal contractile responses to ET-2 more markedly than those to ET-1. Leu(7)ET-1 is a contractile agonist with lower potency and similar maximal effect compared to ET-1 and greater sensitivity to BQ123 than ET-2. Up to 256 nM Trp(6)ET-1 did not cause contraction and did not antagonize arterial responses to ET-1. Significance: Arterial smooth muscle ETA-receptor function displays agonist-dependent aspects. This involves roles of amino acids on position 6 and 7 of the endothelin sequence. Agonist-dependent pathologies may benefit from the design of specific, agonist-selective ET-receptor antagonists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-612
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number13-14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2012


  • Endothelin
  • Rat resistance arteries
  • Agonist-dependence
  • Allosteric modulation of receptor function
  • Structure activity relationships

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