What is the most potent vasoconstrictor? Is it endothelin?

Today, in a lecture about heart failure, one student stated that "endothelin is the most potent vasoconstricotr". The doctor’s response was, "It seems so?!!". So, here I am to find a definitive answer.

I used the following search query in google scholar: "Most potent vasoconstrictor".

To get the most up-to-date papers, I refined my search to include “articles and patents” since 2000.

Fortunately, there is no dispute about this point. I quickly found an answer. The answer is not endothelin. The most potent vasoconstrictor is something known as: Urotensin-II.

Papers attribute this character to urotensin-II. Most interesting one is a paper entitled with this fact published in 2000:

Human Urotensin-II, the Most Potent Mammalian Vasoconstrictor Identified To Date, as a Therapeutic Target for the Management of Cardiovascular Disease.

Source: Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2000 Aug;10(6):229-37.
Link: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1050173800000694


Other papers that mention this fact in their abstract, only to name a few:

1. “Human urotensin II (U-II), the most potent endogenous vasoconstrictor peptide identified to date…”

Hypertens Res. 2006 Jun;29(6):375-87.

Human urotensin II as a link between hypertension and coronary artery disease.

Watanabe T, Kanome T, Miyazaki A, Katagiri T. Department of Biochemistry, Showa University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan. watanabemd@med.showa-u.ac.jp

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16940699


2. “Human urotensin II (U-II), the most potent vasoconstrictor peptide identified to date…”

Relationship Between Hypertension and Atherosclerosis: From a Viewpoint of the Most Potent Vasoconstrictor Human Urotensin II

Authors: Watanabe, Takuya1; Kanome, Tomoko1; Miyazaki, Akira1

Source: Current Hypertension Reviews, Volume 2, Number 3, August 2006 , pp. 237-246(10)

Link: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/chyr/2006/00000002/00000003/art00008



But after all, it seems that my friend can get away with his answer by saying, “Well, I didn’t check new papers about the subject". Because it seems that endothelin was thought to be the most potent vasoconstrictor. However, this was many years ago. The following two paper date back to 1988 and 1990 respectively:

1. A novel potent vasoconstrictor peptide produced by vascular endothelial cells

[PDF] from mit.edu M Yanagisawa, H Kurihara, S Kimura, Y Tomobe… – Nature, 1988 – mit.edu
EC50) in this assay was 4.0 ± 2.2 x 10 10 M. This figure is at least one order of magnitude lower
than the reported values for angiotensin II16, vasopressin17 or neuropep- tide Y18, indicating that endothelin is the most potent mam- malian vasoconstrictor peptide known to date…
Cited by 8273Related articlesAll 12 versions


2. Expression of the potent vasocosntrictor endothein in the human central nervous system.

[PDF] from nih.govME Lee, SM De la Monte, SC Ng… – Journal of Clinical …, 1990 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

… Endothelin 1 (ET1)’ is a recently identified 21-amino acid peptide produced by vascular endothelium in culture and in vivo (1). ETl is the most potent known vasoconstrictor, and it has mitogenic activity in a number of mesenchymal celltypes (2-5). The effects ofET I on target cells…
Cited by 173Related articlesAll 10 versions

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