Endothelin antagonism with bosentan: a review of potential applications

J Mol Med (Berl). 1999 Apr;77(4):364-76. doi: 10.1007/s001090050363.


Endothelin receptor antagonists have been proposed for the treatment of a variety of disorders in which the endothelins may act as pathogenic mediators, such as congestive heart failure, systemic and pulmonary hypertension, and cerebral vasospasm. Bosentan (Ro 47-0203) is a nonpeptide competitive antagonist, which can be a good tool for studying the endothelin system because it may be administered either acutely or chronically. It is specific for the endothelin system and blocks the actions of endothelin at both mammalian receptors (A and B). In experimental models of heart failure bosentan acts as a vasodilator and neurohormonal blocker that improves overall left ventricular performance and reduces renal dysfunction. Furthermore, in chronic studies, bosentan attenuates cardiac remodeling and significantly improves survival. In patients with chronic heart failure bosentan produces pulmonary and systemic vasodilation and may enhance conventional treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Long-term studies are being conducted to characterize the full therapeutic potential of bosentan in chronic heart failure. In experimental models bosentan reverses established pulmonary hypertension. Preclinical efficacy has also been demonstrated in essential hypertension, where bosentan can reduce blood pressure and end-organ damage. Clinical trials in hypertensive patients indicate that bosentan reduces blood pressure without heart rate increase or neurohumoral stimulation. Finally, bosentan is being considered for the treatment of cerebral vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage. Bosentan reverses experimentally induced vasospasm of the basilar artery, and preliminary trials indicate that it can increase cerebral blood flow after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bosentan
  • Endothelins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Kinetics
  • Rats
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / drug therapy
  • Sulfonamides / chemistry
  • Sulfonamides / pharmacology*
  • Sulfonamides / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Endothelins
  • Sulfonamides
  • Bosentan