Endothelin-1 and Endothelin Receptor mRNA Expression in Normal and Atherosclerotic Human Arteries
Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a potent vasoconstrictor peptide implicated in a number of human diseases including atherosclerosis. ET-1 binds to two distinct G protein-coupled receptors, known as the ETA and ETB receptor subtypes. In this study, we have examined ET-1, ETA and ETB mRNA expression levels in human vascular cells cultured in vitro and in normal and atherosclerotic human arteries. The results indicate that (a) ET-1 mRNA is constitutively expressed by endothelial cells but not by smooth muscle cells, (b) endothelial cells express only ETB mRNA but smooth muscle cells co-express ETA and ETB mRNA, and (c) in comparison to normal aorta, ET-1 mRNA expression is elevated and endothelin receptor mRNA expression is repressed in atherosclerotic lesions.