Functional estimation of endothelin-1 receptor antagonism by bosentan, macitentan and ambrisentan in human pulmonary and radial arteriesin vitro

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Endothelin receptor antagonists are approved for pulmonary arterial hypertension. Development of selective ETA-receptor antagonists over mixed or dual receptor antagonists has depended on a range of receptor binding assays, second messenger assays and functional blood vessel assays. This study compared the 3 clinically-approved endothelin receptor antagonists in assays of human isolated pulmonary and radial arteries in vitro.


Human isolated pulmonary (i.d. 5.5 mm) and human radial (i.d. 3.23 mm) artery ring segments were mounted in organ baths for isometric force measurement. Single concentration-contraction curves to endothelin-1 were constructed in the absence or presence of bosentan (1–10 μM), macitentan (0.03–0.3 μM) or ambrisentan (0.1–1 μM).


All 3 endothelin antagonists caused competitive rightward shifts in the endothelin-1 concentration-response curves in both arteries. The Clark plot and analysis gave the following pKB values: bosentan, pulmonary artery 6.28±0.13 and radial artery 6.04±0.10; macitentan, pulmonary artery 8.02±0.13 and radial artery 7.49±0.08; and ambrisentan, pulmonary artery 7.38±0.13 and radial artery 6.96±0.10.


Noting the maximum plasma levels attained from recommended oral doses of each antagonist in volunteers, the pKB findings here show that there would be significant antagonism of endothelin-1 contraction in the pulmonary and radial arteries at therapeutic plasma levels. This functional assay confirms in human tissue that much higher plasma concentrations of endothelin-1 receptor antagonists are required to be effective than those predicted from binding or other biochemical assays.

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