Endothelin (ET)-1 is a potent vasoconstrictor peptide originally isolated from endothelial cells. Its production is stimulated in a variety of different cell types under the influence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and during the development of cardiovascular disease. Based on these observations and the biological effects induced by ET-1, including profound vasoconstriction, pro-inflammatory actions, mitogenic and proliferative effects, stimulation of free radical formation and platelet activation, ET-1 has been implicated as an important factor in the development of vascular dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. In the following the pathogenic role of ET-1, the mechanisms underlying the involvement of ET-1 for the development of vascular dysfunction and the potentially beneficial therapeutic effects of selective ET(A) and dual ET(A)/ET(B) receptor antagonists will be discussed. In particular the changes of pathophysiological importance mediated by ET-1 in clinical studies are reviewed. These changes may be of significance for the development of various cardiovascular diseases beyond pulmonary arterial hypertension which is the currently approved indication for ET receptor antagonists.