Endothelin-1 and its role in the pathogenesis of infectious diseases

Brandi D. Freeman, Fabiana S. Machado, Herbert B. Tanowitz, Mahalia S. Desruisseaux

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Endothelins are potent regulators of vascular tone, which also have mitogenic, apoptotic, and immunomodulatory properties (Rubanyi and Polokoff, 1994; Kedzierski and Yanagisawa, 2001; Bagnato et al., 2011). Three isoforms of endothelin have been identified to date, with endothelin-1 (ET-1) being the best studied. ET-1 is classically considered a potent vasoconstrictor. However, in addition to the effects of ET-1 on vascular smooth muscle cells, the peptide is increasingly recognized as a pro-inflammatory cytokine (Teder and Noble, 2000; Sessa et al., 1991). ET-1 causes platelet aggregation and plays a role in the increased expression of leukocyte adhesion molecules, the synthesis of inflammatory mediators contributing to vascular dysfunction. High levels of ET-1 are found in alveolar macrophages, leukocytes (Sessa et al., 1991) and fibroblasts (Gu et al., 1991). Clinical and experimental data indicate that ET-1 is involved in the pathogenesis of sepsis (Tschaikowsky et al., 2000; Goto et al., 2012), viral and bacterial pneumonia (Schuetz et al., 2008; Samransamruajkit et al., 2002), Rickettsia conorii infections (Davi et al., 1995), Chagas disease (Petkova et al., 2000, 2001), and severe malaria (Dai et al., 2012; Machado et al., 2006; Wenisch et al., 1996a; Dietmann et al., 2008). In this minireview, we will discuss the role of endothelin in the pathogenesis of infectious processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-119
Number of pages10
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 24 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood brain barrier
  • Endothelin
  • Inflammation
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Parasitic disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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