Therapeutic potential of endothelin receptor antagonists for chronic proteinuric renal disease in humans

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Dec;1802(12):1203-13. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2010.03.012. Epub 2010 Mar 30.


Diabetes and arterial hypertension continue to be the main causes of chronic renal failure in 2010, with a rising prevalence in part due to the worldwide obesity epidemic. Proteinuria is a main feature of chronic renal disease and mediated by defects in the glomerular filtration barrier and is as a good predictor of cardiovascular events. Indeed, chronic renal disease due to glomerulosclerosis is one of the important risk factors for the development of coronary artery disease and stroke. Glomerulosclerosis develops in response to inflammatory activation and increased growth factor production. Preclinical and first preliminary clinical studies provide strong evidence that endogenous endothelin-1 (ET-1), a 21-amino-acid peptide with strong growth-promoting and vasoconstricting properties, plays a central role in the pathogenesis of proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis via activation of its ET(A) subtype receptor involving podocyte injury. These studies have not only shown that endothelin participates in the disease processes of hypertension and glomerulosclerosis but also that features of chronic renal disease such as proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis are reversible processes. Remarkably, the protective effects of endothelin receptors antagonists (ERAs) are present even on top of concomitant treatments with inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system. This review discusses current evidence for a role of endothelin for proteinuric renal disease and podocyte injury in diabetes and arterial hypertension and reviews the current status of endothelin receptor antagonists as a potential new treatment option in renal medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Endothelin A Receptor Antagonists*
  • Endothelin-1 / metabolism*
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / drug effects
  • Glomerulonephritis* / drug therapy
  • Glomerulonephritis* / metabolism
  • Glomerulonephritis* / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / metabolism
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / drug therapy
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / metabolism
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / physiopathology
  • Podocytes / metabolism
  • Proteinuria* / drug therapy
  • Proteinuria* / metabolism
  • Proteinuria* / physiopathology
  • Receptor, Endothelin A / metabolism


  • Endothelin A Receptor Antagonists
  • Endothelin-1
  • Receptor, Endothelin A