Endothelin immunoreactivity of airway epithelium in asthmatic patients

Lancet. 1991 Mar 23;337(8743):697-701. doi: 10.1016/0140-6736(91)90279-x.


There is extensive pharmacological and physiological evidence that endothelin-1 influences airway calibre. In mammals, endothelin receptor occur on airway smooth muscle, local storage and release of the peptide have been demonstrated, and inhalation of endothelin-1 induces bronchoconstriction. To investigate the relation between endothelins and asthma the expression of this peptide in endobronchial biopsy specimens was examined immunohistochemically with an antiserum against endothelin-1. Biopsy specimens from 17 asthmatic patients and 11 atopic and non-atopic healthy controls revealed striking differences, with endothelin expression being evident in airways epithelium and vascular endothelium in 11 of the 17 asthmatic patients but in only 1 of 11 controls. These results suggest that endothelins may play a part in the exaggerated bronchomotor tone of asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / pathology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Biopsy
  • Bronchi / chemistry*
  • Bronchi / pathology
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Endothelins / analysis*
  • Epithelium / chemistry
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Tests
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Endothelins