Endothelin, a 21-amino acid peptide produced by vascular endothelial cells, caused a sustained constriction of isolated large cerebral arteries of cats in a dose-dependent manner. The increased tone of the tissue did not return to the resting level after repeated washings. No vasodilator response was evoked by endothelin in the presence of an active tone. The contractile response of cerebral arteries was not inhibited by rubbing of the endothelium, cold storage denervation or indomethacin. In contrast, nicardipine or diltiazen antagonized the endothelin-induced contraction non-competitively. No contraction was evoked by endothelin in a Ca2+-free solution while the addition of Ca2+ ions in the presence of endothelin in a Ca2+-free solution caused a sustained contraction. Ca2+-induced contraction in the Ca2+-free solution containing endothelin was also inhibited by nicardipine. Therefore, endothelin causes a direct contraction of the smooth muscles of cat cerebral arteries, probably by activating the influx of Ca2+ ions through L-type Ca2+ channels of smooth muscles.
- Cerebral artery
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