Endothelial and epithelial sources of endothelin-1 in sheep bronchi

Andrew T. Mariassy, Marilyn K. Glassberg, Matthias Salathé, Francis Maguire, Adam Wanner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Airway smooth muscle tone and growth is regulated by endothelin-1 (ET-1), but the sources of ET-1 in the airway wall have not been clearly defined. We therefore wished to estimate the relative contributions of the epithelium and endothelium to ET-1 production in the bronchi (mean ID 1.7-4.9 nm) of mature normal sheep. Morphometric assessment of bronchial cross-sections revealed a number of epithelial cells three times greater than endothelial cells by direct cell count. In contrast, the overall cell surface density was five to six times greater, and the airway smooth muscle-centered cell surface density was three to four times greater for endothelial cells than for epithelial cells. The expression of preproendothelin-1 mRNA was detected in cultured aortic endothelial cells (as a substitute for bronchial endothelial cells) but not in cultured bronchial epithelial cells, and the former secreted seven times more immunoreactive ET-1 than the latter. These findings show that topographically the endothelium is better positioned for the regulation of ovine bronchial smooth muscle than the epithelium. Furthermore, the findings suggest greater constitutive ET-1 secretion by cultured endothelium than by epithelium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L54-L61
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1 14-1
StatePublished - Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • airway epithelium
  • airway smooth muscle
  • endothelin
  • endothelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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