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The contribution of endothelin-1 (ET-1) to vascular hyper-reactivity associated with chronic ethanol intake, a major risk factor in several cardiovascular diseases, remains to be investigated.The biphasic haemodynamic responses to ET-1 (0.01–0.1 nmol kg−1, i.v.) or to the selective ETB agonist, IRL1620 (0.001–1.0 nmol kg−1, i.v.), with or without ETA or ETB antagonists (BQ123 (c(DTrp-Dasp-Pro-Dval-Leu)) at 1 and 2.5 mg kg−1 and BQ788 (N-cis-2,6-dimethyl-piperidinocarbonyl-L-γ-methylleucyl1-D-1methoxycarbonyltryptophanyl-D-norleucine) at 0.25 mg kg−1, respectively) were tested in anaesthetized rats, after 2 weeks' chronic ethanol treatment. Hepatic parameters and ET receptor protein levels were also determined.The initial hypotensive responses to ET-1 or IRL1620 were unaffected by chronic ethanol intake, whereas the subsequent pressor effects induced by ET-1, but not by IRL1620, were potentiated. BQ123 at 2.5 but not 1 mg kg−1 reduced the pressor responses to ET-1 in ethanol-treated rats. Conversely, BQ788 (0.25 mg kg−1) potentiated ET-1-induced increases in mean arterial blood pressure in control as well as in ethanol-treated rats. Interestingly, in the latter group, increases in heart rate, induced by ET-1 at a dose of 0.025 mg kg−1 were enhanced following ETB receptor blockade. Finally, we observed higher levels of ETA receptor in the heart and mesenteric artery and a reduction of ETB receptor protein levels in the aorta and kidney from rats chronically treated with ethanol.Increased vascular reactivity to ET-1 and altered protein levels of ETA and ETB receptors could play a role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular complications associated with chronic ethanol consumption.