Endothelin-1/nitric oxide balance and HOMA index in children with excess weight and hypertension: a pathophysiological model of hypertension

Antonina Orlando, Francesca Viazzi, Marco Giussani, Elisa Nava, Emanuela Cazzaniga, Barbara Bonino, Paola Palestini, Gianfranco Parati, Simonetta Genovesi

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The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between endothelin-1, nitric oxide, insulin resistance, and blood pressure in young subjects with a high prevalence of excess weight and/or elevated blood pressure. In a cohort of 238 children (mean age = 11.1 years), height, weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure were assessed. Body mass index, waist-to-height ratio, and blood pressure percentiles were calculated, and the children were classified as having excess weight and elevated blood pressure according to the International Obesity Task Force and the US blood pressure nomograms specific for gender, age and height, respectively. Endothelin-1 and nitric oxide production were assessed, and the homeostatic model assessment index was calculated. Forty-three percent of children were male, 71% had excess weight, and 37% had systolic and/or diastolic values above the ninetieth percentile. Plasma endothelin-1 and nitric oxide production were independently correlated (p < 0.05). In multivariate analyses, the HOMA index was associated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.01), and nitric oxide was independently related to diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.04), even after adjustment for measures of body composition. By using the waist-to-height ratio instead of BMI in the statistical model, the association between the homeostatic model assessment index and blood pressure was attenuated, while the results remained similar for nitric oxide. No correlation was found between endothelin-1 and blood pressure. In our study population, the correlation between nitric oxide and blood pressure and the lack of a relationship between endothelin-1 and blood pressure could be explained by an increase in the vasodilator effect of local and systemic nitric oxide, which counteracts the possible hypertensive effect of endothelin-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1192-1199
Number of pages8
JournalHypertension Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Blood pressure
  • Children
  • Endothelin
  • Excess weight
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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