Increased plasma endothelin-1 in the early hours of acute myocardial infarction

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Endothelin is a novel endothelium-derived vasoactive peptide with potent vasoconstrictor action in the coronary bed; however, its possible contribution to myocardial ischemia and infarction is not known. Plasma endothelin-1 concentration was measured with use of a radioimmunoassay in serial venous samples from 22 patients over a 72 h period after acute myocardial infarction (14 patients with uncomplicated infarction [group I] and 8 patients with hemodynamic or ischemic sequelae [group II]). Twenty-two normal subjects and seven patients with stable angina served as the control subjects. Endothelin-1 levels in patients with stable coronary disease were not different from those of normal subjects (0.62 ± 0.56 and 0.76 ± 0.38 pg/ml, respectively). In group I, plasma levels of endothelin-1 rose sharply after myocardial infarction, reaching a peak of 4.95 ± 0.78 pg/ml at 6 h after the onset of chest pain (p < 0.05 compared with values in control subjects) and returning rapidly toward the normal range by 24 h. Patients with complicated infarction (group II) demonstrated a similar rapid increase in plasma endothelin-1 to a peak value of 8.29 ± 1.95 pg/ml; however, plasma endothelin-1 remained elevated in these patients, becoming significantly different from values in group I at 48 and 72 h. There was no correlation between peak increases in creatine kinase and peak endothelin-1 in either group, suggesting that the stimulus for elevation of endothelin-1 was not myocardial necrosis itself. Furthermore, left ventricular ejection fraction did not correlate with the increase in endothelin-1 in group I patients, whereas there was a significant inverse relation between ventricular function and plasma endothelin-1 in group II. Therefore, the rapid increase in plasma endothelin-1 associated with the onset of infarction suggests that this peptide may provide a marker of endothelial perturbation in the early phase of coronary ischemia or even contribute to alterations in myocardial perfusion. The sustained increase in plasma endothelin-1 in patients demonstrating complications of myocardial infarction might reflect continuing ischemia or marked depression in ventricular function in these patients. © 1991, American College of Cardiology Foundation. All rights reserved.




Stewart, D. J., Kubac, G., Costello, K. B., & Cernacek, P. (1991). Increased plasma endothelin-1 in the early hours of acute myocardial infarction. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 18(1), 38–43.

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