Pharmacology of endothelin-1 in vivo in humans

W. G. Haynes*, J. G. Clarke, J. R. Cockcroft, D. J. Webb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a potent vasoconstrictor and pressor agent with a prolonged action in animal preparations. We have investigated the vascular pharmacology of ET-1 in healthy human volunteers. In arterial studies, blood flow was measured in both forearms and the left brachial artery cannulated for infusion of drugs and vehicle. Local blood flow was reduced in a dosedependent manner by ET-1. At 5 pmol/min, the response was maximal by 60 min, and flow returned to baseline only after a further 120 min. ET-1 and angiotensin II, both at 5 pmol/min, reduced flow by 40% at 60 min. These responses were reversed to a similar degree by the dihydropyridine calcium antagonist nicardipine (0.3-10 μg/min). At I pmol/min, ET-1 did not affect sympathetic vasoconstriction to arterial norepinephrine or lower body negative pressure. In venous studies, the internal diameter of a dorsal hand vein was measured during local infusion of drugs and vehicle. ET-1 (5 pmol/min) produced local venoconstriction, with a maximal reduction in vein size of 83 ± 12% at 60 min. Reversal of responses was slow, and unaffected by nicardipine (1.5 μg/min). We have shown that ET-1 is a potent vasoconstrictor producing prolonged effects in resistance and capacitance vessels in humans. Low-dose ET-1 does not appear to affect sympathetically mediated vasoconstriction. Studies with nicardipine do not provide support for the hypothesis that ET-1 is an endogenous ligand of the dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S284-S286
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • Arteries
  • Dihydropyridine calcium channels
  • Forearm blood flow
  • Human
  • Peptides
  • Veins


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