1. Endothelin-1 is a potent endothelium-derived vasoconstrictor peptide that is generated through cleavage of its precursor big endothelin-1 by 'endothelin converting enzyme' (ECE) in resistance vessels, including those of the forearm vascular bed. In some animal tissues, but not in resistance vessels of healthy human subjects, endothelin-1 appears to potentiate the actions of the sympathetic nervous system. We examined whether ECE activity is present in human hand veins and whether endothelin-1 or big endothelin-1 potentiate sympathetically mediated venoconstriction. 2. Six healthy subjects received dorsal hand vein infusion of local, non-systemic doses of endothelin-1 (5 pmol min-1), big endothelin-1 (50 pmol min-1) and, as a control, sodium chloride (0.9%; w/v) for 90 min. Vein diameter was measured using the Aellig displacement technique. Sympathetically mediated venoconstriction was elicited using the single deep breath reflex. 3. Endothelin-1 caused a progressive decrease in hand vein diameter, by 49% at 90 min (95% confidence intervals [CI]: -68 to -30%; P = 0.0001). Vein diameter did not change significantly after 90 min infusion of big endothelin-1 (+3%; CI: -11 to +17%; P = 0.0007 vs endothelin-1; P = 0.40 vs baseline) or sodium chloride (+2%; CI: -12 to +16%; P = 0.0002 vs endothelin-1; P = 0.60 vs baseline). Venoconstriction to deep breath was not potentiated by endothelin-1. 4. These results suggest that, in contrast to the situation in forearm resistance vessels, there is little or no local ECE activity in human hand veins and that endothelin does not potentiate sympathetic responses in these cutaneous capacitance vessels.
|Journal||British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Oct 1995|