Distribution of endothelin-like immunoreactivity and mRNA in the developing and adult human lung.

A. Giaid, J. M. Polak, V. Gaitonde, Q. A. Hamid, G. Moscoso, S. Legon, D. Uwanogho, M. Roncalli, O. Shinmi, T. Sawamura

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Localization and characterization of endothelin-producing cells in the developing (fetal and postnatal) and adult human lung was investigated using the technics of immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization. Immunoreactivity for endothelin was seen mainly in pulmonary endocrine cells of developing human lung. Immunoreactivity was also seen in the airway epithelium in fewer cases (about 50%) of human adults. In situ hybridization with 35S- or 32P-labeled RNA probes complementary to endothelin-1, -2, and -3, showed that endothelin mRNAs were expressed in a number of cells that were in similar sites to endocrine cells. Immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization employed on pairs of reverse-face serial sections showed the presence of endothelin immunoreactivity and mRNAs in the same endocrine cell. Correlative studies revealed that endothelin is co-localized with general endocrine markers (synaptophysin, chromogranin, protein gene product 9.5) and regulatory peptides (e.g., gastrin-releasing peptide). The density (cells/mm2) of endocrine cells containing immunoreactivity or mRNAs was highest during fetal life and started to decline before birth, and was minimal in adults. Endothelin-like immunoreactivity and mRNAs were also expressed in endothelial cells. From these results, it is concluded that endothelin is synthesized in endocrine cells of human lung and the change of developmental expression of this peptide suggests it may play a part in growth regulation in addition to its putative vasoconstrictor role in human lung.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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