[Endothelin and big endothelin in coronary heart disease and acute coronary syndromes].Z Kardiol. 1996 Oct; 85(10):761-7.ZK
Endothelin (ET), the most potent endogenous vasoconstrictor with mitogenic potency, is generated from its precursor big-endothelin (BET) in a proteolytic process and discussed as a pathogenetic factor in coronary artery disease and in the acute coronary syndromes. Several studies documented elevated plasma endothelin concentrations in acute myocardial infarction, but conflicting results were reported in patients with stable and unstable angina. Only few studies determined big endothelin, although it half-life and plasma concentrations are higher in comparison to endothelin. ET and BET levels (Radioimmunoassay, Biomedica GmbH, Vienna) were determined in patients with stable angina (SAP, n = 20), unstable angina (IAP, n = 12), acute myocardial infarction (AMI, n = 12) and healthy subjects (NP, n = 11). The concentrations of ET and BET (median (minimum-maximum) in fmol/ml) of the patients with stable angina (SAP: ET 0.7 (0.3-1.1); BET 1.7 (0.7-2.9)), unstable angina (IAP: ET 1.0(0.5-1.7); BET 2.5 (1.3-4.1)) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI: ET 1.2 (0.6-2.3); BET 3.6 (3.2-5.3)) showed a significant difference compared to controls (NP: ET 0.5 (0.4-0.7); BET 1.4 (1.1-1.7)) (SAP vs. NP: ET p < 0.01; BET p < 0.05; IAP and AMI vs. NP: ET and BET p < 0.001). Also, the concentrations of the peptides differed significantly dependent on the clinical severity of coronary artery disease (AMI vs. SAP: ET and BET p < 0.001; AMI vs. IAP: BET p < 0.05; IAP vs. SAP: ET p < 0.05; BET p < 0.01). Twelve of 15 patients with big endothelin concentrations over 3 fmol/ml suffered acute myocardial infarction. Seven of 12 patients with AMI showed elevated ET and BET concentrations before the increase of creatinecinase. There was no correlation between number of risk factors per patient, cholesterin and subfractions, severity of CAD classified in one-two-three-vessel disease or coronary score according to modified criteria of the American Heart Association (AHA). We conclude that in patients with coronary artery disease endothelin and big endothelin levels are elevated and related to the clinical and not to the morphological severity of coronary artery disease. Big endothelin is the more sensitive parameter in comparison to endothelin and indicates a severe course of myocardial ischemia in patients with unstable angina. The development of assays with the possibility of a quick determination of the peptides may be valuable for risk stratification of acute coronary events.