Autocrine-paracrine endothelin system in the physiology and pathology of steroid-secreting tissues.
In addition to vasoconstriction, endothelin (ET) has been reported to show various endocrine actions in animals. However, no data have emerged concerning the effect of ET on adrenal function in humans. We, therefore, investigated the effects of ET on aldosterone and cortisol secretion from adrenocortical tissues obtained from normal subjects (n = 6) and patients with primary aldosteronism (n = 5). Adrenal tissue slices were incubated at 37 C for 120 min in modified Krebs-Ringer solution containing glucose and HEPES. ET increased aldosterone secretion from normal adrenocortical tissue in a dose-dependent manner, with an ED50 of 0.036 nmol/L, although the maximum response was small compared with that to angiotensin-II. ET also stimulated aldosterone secretion from tissues adjacent to the adenoma, but not from the adenoma, in patients with primary aldosteronism. The effects of ET on aldosterone secretion were significantly suppressed by calcium channel blockade with nicardipine. ET did not affect cortisol secretion from the adrenal tissues. These results suggest that ET is one of the factors that regulates aldosterone secretion in humans.