The liver is s major site of synthesis, clearance, and actions of the powerful vasoactive peptide endothelin-1 (ET-1). We investigated the role of the liver in ET-1 homeostasis by comparing circulating and hepatic ET-1 levels and hepatic ET receptors in patients undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation (OLTx) for end-stage liver disease (ESLD) with those in patients undergoing liver resection for focal lesions with otherwise normal hepatic synthetic function. Central venous and radial arterial blood was drawn immediately after induction of anesthesia (point I), 10 minutes before beginning of resection or the anhepatic stage (point II), and 30 minutes after completion of resection or reperfusion of the grafted liver (point III). Portal and hepatic venous blood was drawn at points II and III. Plasma ET-1 levels were higher in ESLD patients than in resection patients. Plasma ET-1 levels rose both during resection and transplantation; the increase in ET-1 was more pronounced during transplantation. In ESLD patients, hepatic venous ET-1 was higher than portal venous ET-1, suggesting reduced clearance and/or enhanced synthesis of the peptide in the cirrhotic liver. Conversely, hepatic venous ET-1 was lower than portal venous ET-1 in resection patients at all time points and st point III in the ESLD patients. Hepatic concentration of ET-1 was greater and the capacity of the liver to catabolize ET-1 was reduced in ESLD patients as compared to the resection patients. Further, hepatic ET receptor density was higher in ESLD than in resection patients. These results suggest that the cirrhotic liver may contribute to elevated plasma ET-1 in ESLD. Considering its potent hemodynamic and metabolic effects in the liver, increased hepatic ET-1 and ET receptors and plasma ET-1 could play a role in the pathophysiology of liver disease and perioperative complications of OLTx.
ASJC Scopus subject areas