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07.07.2015 | Ausgabe 3/2016

Cardiovascular Toxicology 3/2016

Air Pollution-Induced Vascular Dysfunction: Potential Role of Endothelin-1 (ET-1) System

Cardiovascular Toxicology > Ausgabe 3/2016
Jordan Finch, Daniel J. Conklin


Exposure to air pollution negatively impacts cardiovascular health. Studies show that increased exposure to a number of airborne pollutants increases the risk for cardiovascular disease progression, myocardial events, and cardiovascular mortality. A hypothesized mechanism linking air pollution and cardiovascular disease is the development of systemic inflammation and endothelium dysfunction, the latter of which can result from an imbalance of vasoactive factors within the vasculature. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is a potent peptide vasoconstrictor that plays a significant role in regulating vascular homeostasis. It has been reported that the production and function of ET-1 and its receptors are upregulated in a number of disease states associated with endothelium dysfunction including hypertension and atherosclerosis. This mini-review surveys epidemiological and experimental air pollution studies focused on ET-1 dysregulation as a plausible mechanism underlying the development of cardiovascular disease. Although alterations in ET-1 system components are observed in some studies, there remains a need for future research to clarify whether these specific changes are compensatory or causally related to vascular injury and dysfunction. Moreover, further research may test the efficacy of selective ET-1 pharmacological interventions (e.g., ETA receptor inhibitors) to determine whether these treatments could impede the deleterious impact of air pollution exposure on cardiovascular health.

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