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To determine the organ distribution of production of the three endothelin (ET) isopeptides, we have developed three ribonuclease protection assays specific for the messenger RNAs (mRNAs) of rat ETs 1, 2, and 3.12 organs from adult Sprague-Dawley rats were examined: heart, lung, liver, spleen, kidney, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, testis, muscle, salivary gland, and brain. The mRNA for ET1 was five times more abundant in the lung than in any other organ studied, moderate expression was seen in the large intestine, and lower levels of mRNA were detected in each of the other organs examined. ET2 was expressed at high level in both large and small intestine and at low level in stomach, muscle, and heart, but ET2 mRNA could not be detected elsewhere. ET3 mRNA was found in all organs, particularly in small intestine, lung, kidney, and large intestine. Because of reports suggesting that ETs might be involved in the hypoperfusion and hypofiltration observed in postischemic kidneys, we have also studied levels of mRNA in kidneys that had previously been subjected to 25 or 45 min of clamping of the renal pedicle. At 6 h after 45 min of ischemia, ET1 mRNA increased to a peak of 421 +/- 69% (mean +/- SEM, n = 3) of that in a standard renal RNA preparation. By contrast, ET3 mRNA decreased in the postischemic organ, falling to a value of 19 +/- 2% of standard at the same time point. The effects of ischemia on ET1 and ET3 mRNAs were long-lasting, with elevation of ET1 and depression of ET3 persisting for days. ET2 mRNA remained undetectable throughout. These findings (a) support a role for ET1 in postischemic renal vascular phenomena and (b) demonstrate a situation in which the expression of ET isoforms is clearly subject to differential regulation.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Invest

Publication Date





1023 - 1031


Animals, Base Sequence, Endothelins, Gene Expression, Ischemia, Kidney, Male, Molecular Sequence Data, RNA, Messenger, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains, Ribonucleases, Tissue Distribution