Increased endothelin-1 plasma level in young adults with retinal vascular occlusive diseases

Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2004 May;221(5):357-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-812813.


Background: Vascular occlusive diseases are usually seen in the elderly but can occur even in younger patients without arteriosclerosis. We assume a vascular dysregulation as a underlying pathogenetic mechanism.

Patients and methods: In a prospective study we analysed the clinical findings of six patients under 55 years of age, three men with retinal vein occlusions and three women with branch retinal arterial obstructions. They were examined for signs of a vascular dysregulation and the endothelin-1 (ET-1) plasma level was measured.

Results: In all patients the ET-1 plasma level was markedly elevated. The mean value (3.72 +/- 0.8 pg/ml) was significantly increased compared to normal values for that age (1.52 +/- 0.24 pg/ml; p < 0.001). In all cases an increased tendency for vascular dysregulation could be demonstrated in nailfold capillaroscopy. Furthermore, frequent coldness of the extremities was mentioned by every patient and migraine was mentioned by four patients whereas neither changes of the vessels in carotis and ophthalmica region nor disturbances in the haemostasis and fibrinolysis could be found.

Conclusions: All six patients with vascular occlusive diseases occurring before the age of 55 had a vascular dysregulation and increased ET-1 plasma levels. A relationship between the vascular dysregulation and the vascular occlusive diseases is therefore likely.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Endothelin-1 / blood*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / blood
  • Retinal Artery Occlusion / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion / blood
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion / diagnosis*
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Temperature / physiology
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology


  • Endothelin-1