Endothelin peptides have receptors that create numerous effects throughout the body. These proteins tend to be kept under control by various mechanisms and functions, meaning they cause no harm. However, it's not uncommon to see an abundance of endothelins leading to problems such as hypertension and heart disease.
These vasoconstricting peptides contain 21 amino acids and are largely produced by the body in the endothelium. There are three of them in total, and they are all structurally similar.
Endothelin Mechanism & Function
Endothelin functions by activating two G-protein coupled receptors. Endothelin-1 functions as an endogenous chemical affecting vascular tone across the organs in the body. All three endothelins are classified as having vascular homeostasis functions. They are involved in cardiovascular function, electrolyte homeostasis, and many other mechanisms on a cellular level.
ET-1 is the main one, and it is closely linked to vascular dysfunction. Specifically, it is strongly connected to heart disease - especially high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. This is due to the receptors for ET-1 being located on the smooth muscle cells of the vascular walls. Endothelin has also been known to exhibit mechanisms and functions in mitogenesis and cell survival, along with bone growth and cancer onset mechanisms.
Endothelin interacts with a range of organs and cells in the body. They are often seen interacting in cells within the heart, lungs, brain, and kidney. This protein functions by interacting with two receptors - ETA and ETB. ET-1 interacts with ETA, while ETB is seen to interact with all three endothelins.