Role of the endothelin system in sexual dimorphism in cardiovascular and renal diseases

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Abstract

Epidemiological studies of blood pressure in men and women and in experimental animal models point to substantial sex differences in the occurrence of arterial hypertension as well as in the various manifestations of arterial hypertension, including myocardial infarction, stroke, retinopathy, chronic kidney failure, as well as hypertension-associated diseases (e.g. diabetes mellitus). Increasing evidence demonstrates that the endothelin (ET) system is a major player in the genesis of sex differences in cardiovascular and renal physiology and diseases. Sex differences in the ET system have been described in the vasculature, heart and kidney of humans and experimental animals. In the current review, we briefly describe the role of the ET system in the cardiovascular and renal systems. We also update information on sex differences at different levels of the ET system including synthesis, circulating and tissue levels, receptors, signaling pathways, ET actions, and responses to antagonists in different organs that contribute to blood pressure regulation. Knowledge of the mechanisms underlying sex differences in arterial hypertension can impact therapeutic strategies. Sex-targeted and/or sex-tailored approaches may improve treatment of cardiovascular and renal diseases.

Graphical abstract

In the current review, we will briefly describe the role of the ET system in the cardiovascular and renal systems, and update information on sex differences at different levels of the ET system including synthesis, circulating and tissue levels, receptors, signaling pathways, ET actions, and responses to antagonists in different organs that contribute to blood pressure regulation.

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