Proarrhythmic activity of intracoronary endothelin in dogs: Relation to the site of administration and to changes in regional flow

P. Salvati, S. Chierchia, L. Dho, R. G. Ferrario, P. Parenti, G. Vicedomini, C. Patrono

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The endothelium-derived peptid, endothelin, has been shown to exert powerful constrictor activity in both isolated and in situ coronary arteries. Recent in vitro data on isolated cardiac myocytes suggest that the substance might also possess electrophysiologic properties. We investigated the possibility that endothelin (ET-1) may exert proarrhythmic effects when infused selectively in the coronary circulation of open-chest-anesthetized dogs. Animals were instrumented for the measurement of left anterior descending (LAD) or left circumflex (LCX) coronary artery blood flow, left systolic ventricular pressure (LSVP), dPldtmax, mean arterial pressure (MAP), and epicardial electrocardiogram (ECG; three leads). Data were recorded during infusion (2 min) of saline (n = 5) or increasing doses of endothelin (5-80 pmol/kg) given selectively in either the LCX (n = 10) or the LAD (n = 10) When infused into the LCX, endothelin produced a dose-dependent decrease in flow (40 ± 23% at 80 pmol/kg, mean ± SD, p <0.01) with a concomitant increase in coronary resistance and a decrease in dP/dtmax and MAP. ECG changes typical of myocardial ischemia paralleled the decrease in flow and culminated in ventricular sibrillation at the highest dose (80% of dogs). Endothelin caused similar hemodynamic effects when infused in the LAD, but fatal arrhythmias occurred for lower doses and for little or no change in coronary blood flow. Thirty percent of the animals died at 10 and 60% died at 20 pmol/kg, doses that induced only a moderate decrease (8 ± 7 and 21 ± 12%, respectively) in LAD total blood flow. Ventricular tachycardia always preceded ventricular fibrillation and death. In contrast, at equivalent doses, no deaths occurred when endothelin was given in the LCX. even though the decrease in flow was comparable. These results confirm that endothelin is a potent constrictor of dog coronary arteries: they indicate that the compound also exhibits proarrhythmic effects that are not entirely accounted for by ischemia. This effect might be due to a direct activity on cardiac myocytes, particularly pronounced in the LAD district.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1007-1014
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • Coronary circulation
  • Isolated resistance arteries
  • Lethal arrhythmias
  • Myocardial ischemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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