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Endothelin: key mediator of hypertension in preeclampsia

Eric M George, Joey P Granger
American Journal of Hypertension 2011, 24 (9): 964-9
21677700
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-induced hypertensive disorder characterized by proteinuria and widespread maternal endothelial dysfunction. It remains one of the most common disorders in pregnancy and remains one of the leading causes of maternal and fetal morbidity. Recent research has revealed that placental insufficiency, resulting in hypoxia and ischemia, is a central causative pathway in the development of the disorder. In response, the placenta secretes soluble substances into the maternal circulation which are responsible for the symptomatic phase of the disease. Among the most well characterized factors in the disease pathology are the anti-angiogenic protein soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1), inflammatory cytokines, and agonistic angiotensin II type-1 receptor autoantibodies. Each of these factors has been shown to induce hypertension experimentally through the production of endothelin-1 (ET-1), a powerful vasoconstrictor. Antagonism of the endothelin-A receptor has proved beneficial in numerous animal models of gestational hypertension, and it remains an intriguing target for pharmacological intervention in preeclampsia.

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