Dozens of leading endothelin (ET) researchers from around the world presented new findings at the Seventeenth International Conference on Endothelin (ET-17), hosted and organized by the American Physiological Society (APS). Their work highlighted practical uses of blocking the ET system and the use of ET as a biomarker for disease.
Endothelins are amino acid peptides, primarily produced by the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels. In addition to helping constrict blood vessels, they also function in many different cell types in the body.
Topics presented at the conference explored the many ways that endothelin factors into health and disease. Some of the exciting findings from the meeting are detailed below.
Erectile dysfunction and inflammation could be prevented by blocking the effect of endothelin-1, which regulates blood flow. At the conference, researchers outlined how endothelin-1 is closely linked to the two ailments because it can increase blood pressure. The findings also showed researchers were able to block endothelin-1 by injecting bosentan directly into the tissue of the penis, confirming the role of endothelin-1 in erectile dysfunction.
In another presentation, researchers explained how endothelin-2 might be a promising target to treat lung cancer. Endothelin-2 might specifically target adenocarcinoma, the most common form of lung cancer. Blocking endothelin-2 in the cells of this particular cancer led to a slowdown of cancer cell reproduction, less spread and increased cell death.
A high-salt diet could disrupt the body’s internal clock. Interference with the body’s internal rhythms is associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome, inflammation, mood disorders, cancer and even premature death. Researchers found that blocking the endothelin B receptor can help correct nighttime circadian clock patterns and improve related problems, such as sleep disruption, caused by consuming a high-salt diet.
Additional research presented at the conference discussed:
- how disrupting endothelin improves multiple inflammatory diseases in mouse models, and
- how chronic gum disease is linked to Alzheimer’s and the role endothelin can play in developing new treatments for Alzheimer’s and stroke.
Read more about this year’s ET-17 conference.