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An association exists between infection and cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis, stroke and myocardial infarction. This may involve endothelin-1 (ET-1) which has been implicated in these and other vascular pathologies. ET-1 synthesis is controlled primarily by the level of its mRNA and numerous stimuli, including infection, lead to elevated ET-1 levels. Here, we have investigated the regulation of ET-1 release and preproET-1 (ppET-1) mRNA in bovine aortic endothelial cells by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). ET-1 release from bovine aortic endothelial cells was stimulated by LPS and reporter gene assays implicated LPS-induced ppET-1 transcription. However, changes in transcription were modest compared to increases in ET-1 synthesis. Therefore, ppET-1 mRNA levels were measured by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The effect of LPS on ppET-1 mRNA levels was more marked than on transcription (1.2-fold increase in transcription vs. 5.5-fold increase in ppET-1 mRNA). Analysis of ppET-1 mRNA stability by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction showed that LPS increased its half-life by approximately 2-fold. Thus, upregulated ppET-1 mRNA and hence increased ET-1 synthesis may be due to both increased transcription and reduced mRNA degradation. These effects of LPS on mRNA stability may be a key mechanism in vascular pathologies through which many proteins are induced in response to infection.