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Endothelin and the kidney

Donald E Kohan, MD, PhD
Section Editor
Richard H Sterns, MD
Deputy Editor
John P Forman, MD, MSc


The endothelin (ET) family consists of three 21-amino acid peptides (ET-1, ET-2, and ET-3) [1]. Each ET is formed as a propeptide known as big ET, which is converted to the mature peptide by endothelin-converting enzymes located both inside and outside of cells [2,3].

Once secreted, ETs bind to two general classes of receptors: endothelin A (ETA) and endothelin B (ETB) [4,5]. Two important features of ET-receptor interaction help explain the actions of ET:

ET remains bound to the receptor for several hours, imparting a sustained effect

ET generally binds to receptors located on the same cell as, or on cells immediately adjacent to, the cells that secreted the peptide

ETs are produced by most cell types in the kidney and have a wide variety of biologic actions. The most important are:

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 18, 2015.
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