[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although experimental prevention studies have suggested therapeutic potential of endothelin (ET) antagonists for the treatment of heart failure, the results of clinical trials using ET antagonists on top of standard heart failure medications have been largely disappointing. This experimental study investigated the effects of chronic ET(A) receptor blockade in long-term survivors of myocardial infarction who had developed stable chronic heart failure in the absence of other treatments. Systolic blood pressure, heart rate, organ weights of the right atrium and ventricle, and the lungs were determined, and tissue ET-1 peptide levels were measured in cardiac tissue, lung, and aorta. The results show that chronic blockade of ET(A) receptors stabilizes systolic blood pressure and reverses the heart failure-induced weight increases of right heart chambers and lung. The changes observed occurred independently of tissue ET-1 concentrations and heart rate, suggesting mechanisms independent of local cardiac or pulmonary ET-1 synthesis, which are yet to be identified.
Experimental Biology and Medicine 07/2006; 231(6):857-60. · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated whether intrarenal endothelin-1(ET-1) contributes to sodium excretion in aged rats. Metabolic function studies were performed in male Wistar rats (3 and 24 months) treated with placebo or the orally active ET(A) receptor antagonist darusentan (20 mg/kg/d) for 4 weeks. Mean arterial pressure was measured using an intra-arterial catheter. Electrolytes, aldosterone levels, renin activity, and angiotensin converting enzyme activity were determined in plasma, and mRNA expression of epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) and Na(+), K(+)-ATPase subunits was measured in the renal cortex and medulla. Aging was associated with a marked decrease in urinary excretion of sodium, chloride, and potassium (all P < 0.001) as well as renin activity (P < 0.05), but had no significant effect on gene expression of ENaC or Na(+), K(+)-ATPase subunits. In aged rats, darusentan treatment increased ion excretion (P < 0.05), reduced cortical gene expression of alphaENaC and alpha(1)-Na(+), K(+)-ATPase (both P < 0.05), and increased plasma aldosterone levels (P < 0.01). These data demonstrate a decrease of sodium and potassium excretion in aged rats, changes that are partly sensitive to ETA receptor blockade. Treatment with darusentan also reduced cortical expression of alphaENaC and alpha(1)-Na(+), K(+)-ATPase and increased plasma aldosterone levels independently of blood pressure, electrolytes, renin activity, or angiotensin converting enzyme activity. These findings may provide new pathogenetic links between aging and sodium sensitivity.
Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology 03/2006; 47(3):456-62. · 2.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated whether allograft rejection is associated with local inflammatory activation in host organs and whether endothelin ET(A) receptor signaling is involved. Expression of IL-1beta, IL-1ra, IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-alpha was investigated in host liver, lung and native heart in a rat model of chronic rejection 8 weeks after heterotopic cardiac transplantation in the absence of immunosuppression. In the presence of rejection, circulating levels of cytokines increased, while tissue level activation was dependent on the organ involved. Similarly, tissue-specific regulatory patterns were observed regarding transcriptional activation. Although chronic ET(A) receptor blockade did not reduce transplant vasculopathy or tissue protein expression, treatment had pronounced effects on plasma levels and transcriptional regulation of chemokines. These data provide evidence for distinct pro-inflammatory local activation in host organs during chronic rejection and suggest a role for ET(A) receptors contributing to regulation of cytokine plasma levels and transcriptional activity.
American Journal of Transplantation 06/2005; 5(5):1042-9. · 6.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aging is associated with spontaneous degenerative changes of renal function and structure. The aim of this study was to determine changes of the endothelin (ET) system and NO tissue bioactivity during the physiological aging process. Renal protein expression of ET-1 and ET-3, ETA, and ETB receptor mRNA expression, ET receptor binding and distribution, and tissue NO metabolite content were determined in adult, middle-aged, and senescent normotensive female Wistar rats. In senescent animals, medullary ET-3 content increased 3.4-fold (p<0.05 vs. adult), whereas aging did not affect ET-3 levels in the cortex. Local NO bioavailability, determined by NO metabolite tissue measurements, decreased in the cortex only. ET receptor binding capacity--predominantly due to ETB receptor binding--was lower in medulla than in cortex. Aging had no effect on ET-1 binding capacity or ET receptor distribution, whereas with advanced age gene expression of both receptors decreased. In conclusion, aging causes distinctive expressional changes of the renal endothelin system in otherwise healthy rats. The pronounced increase of endothelin-3 in the renal medulla is associated with preservation of local NO metabolite levels, changes not observed in the cortex. These findings could be important for pathologies and possibly therapy associated with renal aging.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 03/2005; 327(1):234-41. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cause of focal-segmental glomerulosclerosis as a consequence of physiological aging, which is believed to be inexorable, is unknown. This study investigated whether inhibition of endothelin-1, a growth-promoting peptide contributing to renal injury in hypertension and diabetes, affects established glomerulosclerosis and proteinuria in the aged kidney. We also determined the role of endothelin receptors for podocyte injury in vivo and in vitro. Aged Wistar rats, a model of spontaneous age-dependent glomerulosclerosis, were treated with the orally active endothelin subtype A (ET(A)) receptor antagonist darusentan, and evaluation of renal histology, renal function studies, and expression analyses were performed. In vitro experiments using puromycin aminonucleoside to induce podocyte injury investigated the role of ET(A) receptor signaling for apoptosis, cytoskeletal injury, and DNA synthesis. In aged Wistar rats, established glomerulosclerosis and proteinuria were reduced by >50% after 4 weeks of darusentan treatment, whereas blood pressure, glomerular filtration rate, or tubulo-interstitial renal injury remained unaffected. Improvement of structural injury in glomeruli and podocytes was accompanied by a reduction of the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-9 and p21Cip1/WAF1. In vitro experiments blocking ET(A) receptors using specific antagonists or RNA interference prevented apoptosis and structural damage to podocytes induced by puromycin aminonucleoside. In conclusion, these results support the hypothesis that endogenous endothelin contributes to glomerulosclerosis and proteinuria in the aging kidney. The results further suggest that age-dependent glomerulosclerosis is not merely a "degenerative" but a reversible process locally confined to the glomerulus involving recovery of podocytes from previous injury.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is little information whether cardiac capillary supply is deranged in diabetes. Hyperglycaemia is a potent stimulus for endothelin-1 (ET-1) production. We therefore hypothesised that increased ET-1 production in Streptozotocin-induced Type 1 diabetes causes abnormalities of cardiac capillaries and the aorta. To this end we compared the effects of an ET receptor A blocker (ETA-RB) with that of an ACE-inhibitor (ACE-i) or their combination in rats with Streptozotocin (STZ) diabetes.
Sprague Dawley rats were injected with 65 mg STZ i.v. and subsequently developed diabetes. Rats were left untreated or received daily either the ACE-i Trandolapril, the ETA-RB Darusentan or a combination of both. After 6 months the experiment was terminated and the heart and the aorta were investigated using quantitative morphological techniques.
ACE-i but not ETA-RB lowered blood pressure in STZ Type 1 diabetic rats. Capillary length density was lower in untreated STZ diabetic rats (2932+/-128 mm/mm3) compared to non-diabetic control rats (3410+/-252 mm/mm3). Treatment with ACE-i (3568+/-431 mm/mm3), but not with ETA-RB (2893+/-192 mm/mm3), prevented the decrease in capillary supply. Volume density of the myocardial interstitium was higher in untreated STZ diabetic rats (0.86+/-0.04%) compared to non-diabetic control rats (0.36+/-0.06%). In all three intervention groups the values were lower (ACE-i: 0.53+/-0.05%, ETA-RB: 0.7+/-0.08% and combination: 0.69+/-0.1).
Our study identifies a capillary defect of the heart in STZ diabetes, i.e. decreased capillary supply. This abnormality was reversed by ACE-i, but not by ETA-R blockade. A similar trend, although not complete normalisation, was seen in cardiac fibrosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pathomechanisms that cause renal damage in diabetes have not been completely clarified. Treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-i) is highly effective but fails to completely prevent end-stage renal disease. The effects of ET(A)-receptor blockers (ET(A)-RB) on renal damage are controversial and have rarely been investigated in type 2 diabetes. We compared the influence of the selective ET(A)-RB LU135252 and the ACE-i Trandolapril on renal structure in the SHR/N-cp rat model of type 2 diabetes. Three-month-old male SHR/N-cp rats were left untreated or received daily either Trandolapril or LU135252. The experiment was terminated after 6 months. The glomerulosclerosis index; tubulointerstitial damage index; and glomerular geometry, glomerular cell number, and capillary density were investigated. Proliferating cell nuclear antigen and desmin expression of podocytes, renal mRNA expression of endothelin (ET-1) and transforming growth factor-beta, blood pressure, and urine albumin excretion were measured. The glomerulosclerosis index was significantly higher in untreated diabetic animals than in the groups that were treated with ACE-i and ET(A)-RB. There were analogous changes in tubulointerstitial damage index. Treatment with either substance comparably lowered urinary albumin excretion in diabetic SHR/N-cp. Podocyte and endothelial cell numbers per glomerulus decreased in untreated diabetic animals; this was prevented by the ACE-i but not by the ET(A)-RB. Glomerular capillary length density was lower in SHR/N-cp, and this was normalized by ACE-i only. Increased expression of desmin and proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression of podocytes in the SHR/N-cp was abrogated by ACE-i but not by ET(A)-RB. Treatment with ACE-i or ET(A)-receptor antagonist resulted in less structural and functional alterations, but the ET(A)-RB was inferior to the ACE-i. This is particularly the case for podocyte changes pointing to angiotensin II-dependent pathomechanisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Atherosclerosis is a chronic systemic disease of the vasculature with an inflammatory component. It accounts for the majority of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries and its incidence is increasing in developing countries. The impairment of vascular endothelial cell function in atherosclerosis and in conditions associated with increased cardiovascular risk is an important determinant of disease progression. The reduction of endothelium-dependent relaxation in the coronary and systemic circulation in atherosclerosis is in part due to decreased bioavailability of nitric oxide and increased release of oxygen-derived free radicals. Atherosclerosis also increases the formation of vasoconstrictors and growth factors, adhesion of leukocytes, thrombosis, inflammation, cell proliferation, as well as increases in vascular tone. Here we review mechanisms and therapeutic approaches to improve endothelial pathways in atherosclerosis. Restoration of NO bioactivity through pharmacological inhibition of the renin-angiotensin system, statin therapy, or endothelin receptor blockade, ameliorates vascular function in experimental hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and heart failure. These treatments also have therapeutic benefit for patients at risk or with overt atherosclerosis, to reduce vascular and myocardial complications of this disease.
Current Vascular Pharmacology 07/2003; 1(2):111-21. · 2.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It was the aim of our study to investigate the influence of a selective ET-A receptor antagonist LU 135252 alone and in combination with the ACE-inhibitor, trandolapril on podocyte number and morphology in streptozotocin diabetic rats.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats were injected with 65 mg streptozotocin i.v. and subsequently developed diabetes. Animals were left untreated or received daily either trandolapril (0.3 mg/kg body weight), LU 135252 (50 mg/kg body weight) or a combination of both. After 6 months the experiment was terminated. Glomerular geometry and cellularity were assessed by stereological techniques. Protein expression of TGF-beta, ET-1, PDGF-AB, fibronectin, desmin and alpha-smooth muscle cell actin was investigated by immunohistochemistry.
The mean number of podocytes per glomerulus was lower (86+/-17 vs. 138+/-25; p<0.05) and mean podocyte volume was higher in untreated diabetic animals than in non-diabetic controls. Only ACE-i alone and in combination, but not ET(A)-RB alone prevented loss of podocytes and podocyte hypertrophy. In diabetic rats, increased numbers of PCNA positive and p27(kip1) positive cells (mainly podocytes) were reduced by all treatments, but only ACE-i decreased numbers of desmin positive podocytes and tubulointerstitial expression of TGF-beta. Albuminuria was increased in untreated diabetes and was prevented only by ACE-i and combination treatment.
Podocyte hypertrophy and degeneration is an early event in diabetic nephropathy leading to a loss of podocytes. Treatment with an ACE-i, but not with an ET(A)-RB, prevented the development of albuminuria as well as damage and loss of podocytes. The well known anti-proteinuric effect of ACE-i is presumably due at least in part to conservation of podocyte structure. Increased plasma endothelin-1 (ET-1) concentrations and urine excretion of ET-1 have been documented in patients with diabetes and proteinuria . It has been shown that experimental diabetes mellitus increases renal ET-1 gene transcription . To assess the relevance of the ET-system in the pathogenesis of renal structural changes in the model of the STZ-induced diabetic rat we compared the effect of an ET(A)-receptor specific antagonist with the well known beneficial effect of an ACE-i, especially on podocyte cell number and morphology.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vasoconstrictor prostanoids have been implicated in abnormal vasomotion in atherosclerosis and hypertension.
Using lean and diet-induced obese mice, we investigated whether obesity affects vascular function or expression of genes involved in prostanoid action.
In lean C57BL/6J mice, at high concentrations acetylcholine caused endothelium-dependent contractions in the carotid artery but not in the aorta. Endothelium-dependent contractions to acetylcholine were blocked by the non-selective cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors indomethacin and meclofenamate, or a prostaglandin H2/thromboxane A2 receptor antagonist, but not by inhibitors of COX-2, thromboxane synthase or cytochrome P450 monooxygenase. Obesity increased endothelium-dependent contractions to acetylcholine in the carotid artery, and prostanoid-mediated vasoconstriction was now present in the aorta. Similarly, contractions to endothelin-1 were largely blocked by meclofenamate and were increased in the aorta of obese mice. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis of the thromboxane receptor gene in the carotid artery revealed a robust upregulation in obese animals (18-fold, 0.05); in comparison, obesity had a less pronounced effect on thromboxane synthase (2.1-fold increase, 0.05), or preproendothelin-1 gene expression (4.2-fold increase, 0.05).
These data demonstrate that obesity augments prostanoid-dependent vasoconstriction and markedly increases vascular thromboxane receptor gene expression. These changes are likely to promote the development of vascular disease, hypertension and thrombosis associated with obesity.
Journal of Hypertension 12/2002; 20(11):2239-45. · 4.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated vascular reactivity in response to acetylcholine, in the presence of acute inhibition of nitric oxide synthase, in the carotid artery and aorta of obese C57Bl6/J mice fed on a high-fat diet for 30 weeks, and of control mice. A subgroup of obese animals was also treated with the ET(A) receptor antagonist darusentan (50 mg x kg(-1) x day(-1)). In vascular rings from control animals, acetylcholine caused endothelium-dependent contractions in the carotid artery, but not in the aorta. In vascular rings from obese mice, contractility to acetylcholine was also evident in the aorta, and that in the carotid artery was increased compared with control mice. ET(A) receptor blockade by darusentan treatment of the obese mice prevented enhanced vasoconstriction to acetylcholine, resulting in mild vasodilatation. Thus obesity increases endothelium-dependent vasoconstriction in the absence of endothelial nitric oxide. This effect can be completely prevented by chronic ET(A) receptor blockade, suggesting that endothelin modulates increased endothelium-dependent vasoconstriction in obesity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endothelin (ET) is a hormone produced predominantly by endothelial cells which has been recognised to play a significant role in the development of several cardiovascular disease states. In order to combat the deleterious effects of ET, several ET-receptor antagonists (ETRA) are currently in clinical development. The agents developed thus far inhibit the actions of ET through either selective inhibition of the ET(A) receptors or non-selective inhibition of both ET(A) and ET(B) receptors. However, due to the differing proportions of the two receptor subtypes in various tissues, animal models and pathologies, it remains a matter of debate whether receptor selective agents impart significant clinical benefits over non-selective agents. This paper seeks to briefly summarise the important preclinical and clinical effects that have been reported in the literature and will attempt to provide a rationale for the use of both types of ETRAs in the treatment of both systemic and pulmonary hypertension as well as chronic heart failure (CHF).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We here report that aging increases expression of endothelin-1 and NO synthases in the vasculature and kidney of normotensive rats in vivo. Expression of preproendothelin-1 mRNA was quantified by RT-PCR and in situ hybridization, and endothelin-1 protein was determined by radioimmunoassay/HPLC. Vascular mRNA expression of NO synthase isoforms II and III was analyzed by RT-PCR. In young animals, vascular endothelin-1 protein was differentially expressed (aorta < renal artery < carotid artery) and increased with aging in all vascular beds (P < 0.05). In the intact aorta of aged rats, mRNA expression of preproendothelin-1, "inducible" NO synthase II, and endothelial cell NO synthase III gene was up-regulated (P < 0.05). Moreover, preproendothelin-1 mRNA expression increased in glomeruli and tubulointerstitial cells (P < 0.05). To our knowledge this is the first study demonstrating local vascular up-regulation of the trophic factor endothelin under physiological conditions. Activation of vascular endothelin and NO synthases may be important, pressure-independent factors contributing to structural and functional abnormalities of age-dependent diseases, including atherosclerosis.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2001; 280(3):908-13. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the heart of uremic animals and patients, the number of capillaries per volume of myocardium is reduced. Immunohistochemical studies demonstrated increased cardiac endothelin-1 (ET-1) expression in the left ventricle of uremic animals. Therefore, whether treatment with a selective ET(A)-receptor antagonist prevented such capillary-myocyte mismatch was investigated. Twenty-four h after subtotal nephrectomy, rats were left untreated or started on treatment with the ET(A)-receptor antagonist LU 135252 (20 mg/kg per d) and with the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor trandolapril (0.3 mg/kg per d), respectively. BP was monitored by telemetry. Myocardial capillary length density was analyzed by stereologic techniques that avoid anisotropy artifacts. In addition, cardiac ET-1 protein and mRNA were measured using immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. Changes in cardiac ET(A)-and ET(B)-PCR. receptor mRNA were measured using reverse transcription-PCR. Fifteen wk after subtotal nephrectomy, significantly reduced left ventricular capillary length density (3307 +/- 535 mm/mm(3)) was found compared with sham-operated controls (3995 +/- 471 mm/mm(3)); this was also seen in animals that were treated with trandolapril (3503 +/- 533 mm/mm(3)) but not in animals that were treated with LU 135252 (3800 +/- 303 mm/mm(3)). The results support a role of ET-1 in the genesis of left ventricular capillary/myocyte mismatch in uremia.
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 10/2000; 11(9):1702-11. · 8.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the C57BL/6J mice model, we investigated whether obesity affects the function or expression of components of the tissue renin-angiotensin system and whether endothelin (ET)-1 contributes to these changes. ACE activity (nmol. L His-Leu. mg protein(-1)) was measured in lung, kidney, and liver in control (receiving standard chow) and obese animals treated for 30 weeks with a high-fat, low cholesterol diet alone or in combination with LU135252, an orally active ET(A) receptor antagonist. ACE mRNA expression was measured in the kidney, and the effects of LU135252 on purified human ACE were determined. Aortic and renal tissue ET-1 protein content was measured, and the vascular contractility to angiotensin II was assessed. Obesity was associated with a tissue-specific increase in ACE activity in the kidney (55+/-4 versus 33+/-3 nmol/L) but not in the lung (34+/-2 versus 32+/-2 nmol/L). Long-term LU135252 treatment completely prevented this activation (13.3+/-0.3 versus 55+/-4 nmol/L, P<0.05) independent of ACE mRNA expression, body weight, or renal ET-1 protein but did not affect pulmonary or hepatic ACE activity. Obesity potentiated contractions in response to angiotensin II in the aorta (from 6+/-2% to 33+/-5% KCl) but not in the carotid artery (4+/-1% to 3.6+/-1% KCl), an effect that was completely prevented with LU135252 treatment (6+/-0.4% versus 33+/-5% KCl). No effect of LU135252 on purified ACE was observed. Thus, obesity is associated with the activation of renal ACE in vivo independent of its mRNA expression and enhanced vascular contractility to angiotensin II. These effects are regulated by ET in an organ-specific manner, providing novel mechanisms by which ET antagonists may exert organ protection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endothelins build a peptide family composed of three isoforms, each of them containing 21 amino acids. Endothelin-1 is the isoform mainly responsible for any cardiovascular action and therefore the sole scope of this review. Endothelin-1 is the most potent endogenous vasoconstrictor known; in addition it acts as a potent (co)mitogen. There is a substantial body of experimental evidence that endothelin-1 may contribute not only to sustained vasoconstriction, but also to remodeling within the cardiovascular system. Thus, with the help of endothelin receptor antagonists (available for a few years) the involvement of mainly ETA receptors in structural diseases such as heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, atherosclerosis, restenosis, systemic hypertension, and chronic renal failure has been shown. These data make endothelin receptor antagonists, and especially those selective for the ETA receptor, promising agents for the treatment of chronic cardiovascular diseases associated with remodeling. Currently several chemically distinct, orally available members of this novel class of therapeutic agents are under clinical investigation.
Proceedings of The Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 10/1999; 221(4):312-25.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since raised levels of endothelin-1 (ET-1) have been detected in the human coronary sinus following percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTCA) we investigated the role of ET-1 in the etiology of vascular restenosis.
Balloon angioplasty of coronary arteries was performed in pigs and the animals were treated with placebo or the endothelin (ETA) receptor antagonist LU 135252 (30 mg/kg/day). After 4 weeks vascular stenosis and the distribution of endothelin and its receptors was evaluated.
The pronounced neointima formation in the control group (neointima:media ratio = 0.87 +/- 0.36) was significantly reduced by LU 135252 (0.43 +/- 0.30, P < 0.001). Angioplasty caused a significant increase in medial ETA (approximately 275%, P < 0.026) and ETB (approximately 250%, P < 0.001) binding to injured, compared with non-injured segments, an effect that was also reduced by LU 135252 (ETA = 11.5% increase; ETB = 14% increase). The neointima of control animals exhibited ET-1 like immunoreactivity as well as ETA and ETB binding sites.
These data indicate that endothelin is locally-released from endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells following angioplasty which binds to ETA and ETB receptor sites in the neointima and media. Since administration of the ETA antagonist LU 135252 markedly reduces neointima formation and medial ET binding, we conclude that vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and subsequent neointima formation is mediated predominantly via ETA receptors. These data underscore the therapeutic potential of ETA antagonists in reducing the degree of restenosis following vascular injury.
Cardiovascular Research 09/1999; 43(2):445-56. · 5.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies in dogs have shown additive or even synergistic effects of combined angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition and either nonselective endothelin subtype A/B (ETA/B) or selective endothelin subtype A (ETA) receptor blockade on renal vascular resistance and mean arterial blood pressure. A possible mechanism underlying this interaction may be a stimulation of the renin-angiotensin system during endothelin (ET) receptor blockade. We therefore investigated whether plasma renin activity and renin release are regulated by the ETA receptor. Experiments were made in conscious, chronically instrumented dogs receiving either saline or the selective ETA receptor antagonist LU 135252 (10 mg/kg IV). Eighty to 100 minutes after the administration of LU 135252 (n=5), heart rate (99+/-7 versus 81+/-6 bpm; P<0.05) and renal blood flow (327+/-40 versus 278+/-36 mL/min; P<0.05) were increased significantly, whereas mean arterial blood pressure tended to be lower (93+/-5 versus 105+/-7 mm Hg). These changes were associated with a 2-fold increase in plasma renin activity (0.74+/-0.12 versus 0.37+/-0.10 ng angiotensin I per milliliter per hour; P<0.05). Measurements of renin release at various renal perfusion pressures (n=5) with the use of a vascular occluder implanted around the left renal artery revealed that ETA receptor blockade did not alter renin release at resting renal perfusion pressure (78+/-25 versus 71+/-39 U/min) but strongly enhanced the sensitivity of pressure-dependent renin release <80 mm Hg approximately 2.2-fold. In conclusion, selective ETA receptor blockade is associated with a stimulation of the circulating renin-angiotensin system, which results from both a sensitization of pressure-dependent renin release and a larger proportion of blood pressure values falling into the low pressure range, where renin release is stimulated. These find-ings strengthen the view that ET and the renin-angiotensin system closely interact to regulate vascular resistance and provide a physiological basis for synergistic hypotensive effects of a combined blockade of both pressor systems.