Co-operation between endothelin and nitric oxide in promoting endothelial cell migration and angiogenesis

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 1999 Mar;26(3):269-71. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1681.1999.03029.x.


1. Among the diverse functions of endothelins (ET), their role in the remodelling of blood vessels remains poorly examined. In the present review, we summarize findings obtained in our laboratory and present four independent lines of evidence to support this novel function. We also demonstrate that the motogenic and angiogenic effects of ET are mediated via the ETB receptor and that the functional endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS) is requisite for this action. 2. We demonstrated that ET stimulates transmigration of endothelial cells in a modified Boyden chamber and accelerates endothelial wound healing acting via ETB receptors. 3. In genetically engineered Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing either ETB receptor or endothelial NOS or both, application of ET results in accelerated cell migration only when the receptor and the enzyme are coexpressed. Application of antisense oligonucleotides producing a specific knockdown of the endothelial NOS results in the loss of ET ability to stimulate endothelial cell migration in response to ET. 4. Finally, using a novel model of in vivo angiogenesis, we were able to demonstrate that ET enhances formation of new vessels, but this effect requires functional endothelial NOS. 5. The described phenomenon of NO production, serving as a prerequisite for endothelial cell locomotion in response to activation of ETB receptor may explain a host of pathophysiological observations on inadequate angiogenesis despite enhanced generation of ET-1. 6. Based on the contribution of endothelial cell migration to angiogenesis, these data may implicate insufficient NO production in pathological states (e.g. atherosclerosis, heart failure and hypertension) in the inappropriate response to angiogenic stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Endothelins / physiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*


  • Endothelins
  • Nitric Oxide