Chronic kidney diseases are increasing worldwide at an alarming rate, and they are emerging as a major public health problem. Treatments that slow the progression of chronic kidney disease are needed. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a potent vasoconstrictor with proinflammatory, mitogenic and profibrotic effects that is closely involved in both normal renal physiology and pathology. Increasing evidence suggests that ET-1 and its cognate receptors are involved in a variety of progressive renal disorders to the extent that renal ET-1 expression correlates with disease severity and renal function impairment. Endothelin receptor antagonists have been used in renoprotection studies owing to their capacity of improving renal hemodynamics and reducing proteinuria. Whether selective ET(A) or non-selective ET(A)/ET(B) receptor antagonists are preferable is still a matter of debate. As angiotensin II blockers are not invariably effective in retarding disease progression when treatment is started late in the course of the disease, it is foreseeable that an ET-1 antagonist in addition to angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors could represent a combined treatment for progressive nephropathies. The focus of this review is to examine the role endothelin-1 plays in kidney diseases and to determine the ideal setting for antagonizing its biological activity in chronic nephropathies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Biochemistry