We examined conversion of Big endothelin-1 (ET-1) to mature ET-1 and pressor action during perfusion of the isolated perfused rat lung with Big ET-1. Big ET-1 caused a concentration-related increase in perfusion pressure and the pressor molar potency of the peptide was fivefold less than that of ET-1. Pressor responses to Big ET-1 were accompanied by an increase in immunoreactive-ET (IR-ET) levels in the perfusate and in the lung tissues. Pretreatment with phosphoramidon (10(-4) M), a metalloproteinase inhibitor, markedly suppressed the pressor action and increment in IR-ET in the tissues. Unexpectedly, the amount of IR-ET in the perfusate during perfusion of Big ET-1 was not influenced by phosphoramidon treatment. On the other hand, chymostatin, an inhibitor of chymotrypsin-like enzymes, effectively suppressed IR-ET levels in the perfusate; however, this enzyme inhibitor was without effect on the pressor action of Big ET-1 or on the increase in IR-ET levels in lung tissues. We tentatively conclude that the phosphoramidon-sensitive conversion of Big ET-T to ET-1 is linked to the pressor action of Big ET-1 in the isolated perfused rat lung. In addition, it seems likely that chymostatin-sensitive conversion of Big ET-1 to ET-1 does not play a major role in the conversion of the precursor to the mature form. We propose that IR-ET present in the tissues rather than that in the perfusate is a better indicator of the functional conversion of Big ET-1 in the rat lung.
- Copyright © 1994 the American Physiological Society