Endothelin-1 critically influences cardiac function via superoxide-MMP9 cascade

Catherine K. Hathaway, Ruriko Grant, John R. Hagaman, Sylvia Hiller, Feng Li, Longquan Xu, Albert S. Chang, Victoria J. Madden, C. Robert Bagnell, Mauricio Rojas, Hyung Suk Kim, Bingruo Wu, Bin Zhou, Oliver Smithies, Masao Kakoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


We have generated low-expressing and high-expressing endothelin-1 genes (L and H) and have bred mice with four levels of expression: L/L, ∼20%; L/+, ∼65%; +/+ (wild type), 100%; and H/+, ∼350%. The hypomorphic L allele can be spatiotemporally switched to the hypermorphic H allele by Cre-loxP recombination. Young adult L/L and L/+ mice have dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertension, and increased plasma volumes, together with increased ventricular superoxide levels, increased matrix metalloproteinase 9 (Mmp9) expression, and reduced ventricular stiffness. H/+ mice have decreased plasma volumes and significantly heavy stiff hearts. Global or cardiomyocyte-specific switching expression from L to H normalized the abnormalities already present in young adult L/L mice. An epithelial sodium channel antagonist normalized plasma volume and blood pressure, but only partially corrected the cardiomyopathy. A superoxide dismutase mimetic made superoxide levels subnormal, reduced Mmp9 overexpression, and substantially improved cardiac function. Genetic absence of Mmp9 also improved cardiac function, but increased superoxide remained. We conclude that endothelin-1 is critical for maintaining normal contractile function, for controlling superoxide and Mmp9 levels, and for ensuring that the myocardium has sufficient collagen to prevent overstretching. Even a modest (∼35%) decrease in endothelin-1 gene (Edn1) expression is sufficient to cause cardiac dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5141-5146
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 21 2015


  • Amiloride
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Sodium retention
  • Tempol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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