• Article

Nitric oxide and endothelin-1 in coronary and pulmonary circulation

Since the discovery of the vasorelaxant properties of nitric oxide and the vasoconstrictor effect of endothelin-1, there have been many studies of the distribution and functional significance of these agents in various vascular beds. In the coronary and pulmonary circulation nitric oxide and endothelin-1 actions have been largely investigated in terms of an imbalance between the opposing effects of these vasoactive agents leading to pathophysiological conditions. This article review functional and immunocytochemical studies with emphasis on the ultrastructural localization of nitric oxide synthase and endothelin-1 in the coronary and pulmonary vascular beds. Localization of nitric oxide synthase (type III or I or II) has been shown in endothelial cells, smooth muscle, and perivascular nerves of the coronary and pulmonary vascular beds and in the neurons, nerve fibers, and the small granule-containing cells within cardiac ganglia. Endothelin-1 was mainly localized in subpopulations of coronary and pulmonary endothelial cells. These immunocytochemical studies provide information about the sources of nitric oxide and endothelin-1 that contribute to the vasomotor control of cardiac and pulmonary circulation under normal and pathophysiological conditions


Rubino, A., Loesch, A., & Burnstock, G. (1999). Nitric oxide and endothelin-1 in coronary and pulmonary circulation. International Review of Cytology, 189, 59-93.