Coexpression of endothelin-converting enzyme-1 and endothelin-1 in different stages of human atherosclerosis.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:Endothelin-converting enzyme (ECE)-1 activates endothelin-1 (ET-1) and may thus contribute to the regulation of vascular tone and cell growth during atherosclerosis. METHODS AND RESULTS:To evaluate ECE-1 immunoreactivity concerning big ET-1/ET-1, we performed qualitative and quantitative immunohistochemistry in normal internal mammary arteries (n=10), in coronary arteries with adaptive intimal fibrosis (n=10), in aortic fatty streaks (n=10), and in distinct regions of advanced carotid plaques (n=15). Furthermore, we determined ECE-1 activity in the control specimens and in the inflammatory intimal regions of carotid plaques. Double immunolabeling showed that ECE-1 was present in endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells, and macrophages. All ET-1(+) cells were simultaneously ECE-1(+). Most importantly, there were significantly more ET-1(+) cells in the intima and media when atherosclerosis was in an inflammatory stage than when it was in a noninflammatory stage. Moreover, ECE-1 activity was upregulated in the intima of carotid plaques, although immunohistochemically, there were no significant differences between the number of ECE(+) cells in the different compartments of the arterial wall. CONCLUSION:Together with ET-1, ECE-1 is abundantly present in human arteries and at different stages of atherosclerotic plaque evolution. The upregulation of the ECE-1/ET-1 system is closely linked to the presence of chronic inflammation and is present in very early stages of plaque evolution. Therefore, enhanced production of active ET-1 may substantially contribute to cell growth and the regulation of vascular tone in advanced atherosclerotic lesions and in the very early stages of plaque evolution, when a plaque is still imperceptible clinically.

journal_name

Circulation

journal_title

Circulation

authors

Ihling C,Szombathy T,Bohrmann B,Brockhaus M,Schaefer HE,Loeffler BM

doi

10.1161/hc3301.094742

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2001-08-21 00:00:00

pages

864-9

issue

8

eissn

0009-7322

issn

1524-4539

journal_volume

104

pub_type

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