Comparison of selective ET(A) and ET(B) receptor antagonists in patients with chronic heart failure

Peter J Cowburn, John G F Cleland, Theresa A McDonagh, John D McArthur, Henry J Dargie, James J Morton
European Journal of Heart Failure 2005, 7 (1): 37-42

BACKGROUND: The vasoconstrictor action of endothelin-1 (ET-1) is mediated through ET(A) and ET(B) receptor subtypes on vascular smooth muscle. ET(B) receptors are also present on the vascular endothelium where they mediate vasodilation. Animal studies suggest that the ET(B) receptor also acts as a clearance receptor for endothelin.

AIMS: To investigate the effects of a selective ET(A) and a selective ET(B) receptor antagonist alone and in combination on haemodynamics and circulating concentrations of ET-1 in patients with chronic heart failure.

RESULTS: Infusion of BQ-123 (n=10), a selective ET(A) receptor antagonist, led to systemic vasodilation and did not change plasma ET-1 concentrations (1.38+/-0.82 to 1.38+/-0.91 fmol/ml, ns). Infusion of BQ-788 (n=8) led to systemic vasoconstriction with a rise in plasma ET-1 (1.84+/-1.06 to 2.73+/-0.99 fmol/ml, p<0.01). The addition of BQ-123 to BQ-788 led to systemic and pulmonary vasodilation with no further increase in plasma ET-1 concentrations (2.80+/-1.14 to 2.90+/-1.20 fmol/ml, ns).

CONCLUSION: The rise in plasma ET-1 concentrations in response to selective blockade of ET(B) receptors and the associated adverse haemodynamic effects suggest that ET(B) receptors have a role in the clearance of ET-1 in man and that their blockade may not be advantageous for patients with heart failure.

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