Endothelin-1 (ET-1) and nitric oxide (NO) are potent vasoactive factors known to play a role in vascular remodeling. This study assessed the temporal expression of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS), preproET-1, and ETA and ETB receptor mRNAs in the rat carotid artery after balloon injury using quantitative competitive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qcRT-PCR) and the ribonuclease protection assay (RPA). Levels of ET-1 increased sharply after arterial injury, peaking (5.1-fold) at 2 days. This was associated with a dramatic increase in the expression of ETB (63-fold) and ETA (158-fold) receptor mRNA, peaking at days I and 2, respectively. Expression of eNOS was not detectable immediately after balloon injury, consistent with complete denudation, but reappeared after day 2 and increased to preinjury levels by day 14. The recovery of eNOS expression mirrored the return of ET-1 and ET receptor expression to baseline levels. The results confirm profound upregulation of the ET system in this model of arterial injury and suggest a critical role for eNOS expression and re-endothelialization in the normalization of ET-1 and ET receptor expression during the recovery phase, events that may be important in long-term arterial patency.
- nitric oxide
- mRNA quantification