Does endothelin-1 participate in the exercise-induced changes of blood flow distribution of muscles in humans?

Seiji Maeda, Takashi Miyauchi, Michiko Sakane, Makoto Saito, Shinichi Maki, Katsutoshi Goto, Mitsuo Matsuda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is an endothelium-derived potent vasoconstrictor peptide that potentiates contractions to norepinephrine in human vessels. We previously reported that the circulating plasma concentration of ET-1 is significantly increased after exercise (S. Maeda, T. Miyauchi, K. Goto, and M. Matsuda. J. Appl. Physiol. 77: 1399-1402, 1994). To study the roles of ET- 1 during and after exercise, we investigated whether endurance exercise affects the production of ET-1 in the circulation of working muscles and nonworking muscles. Male athletes performed one-leg cycle ergometer exercise of 30-min duration at intensity of 110% of their individual ventilatory threshold. Plasma concentrations of ET-1 in both sides of femoral veins (veins in the working leg and nonworking leg) and in the femoral artery (artery in the nonworking leg) were measured before and after exercise. The plasma ET-1 concentration in the femoral vein in the nonworking leg was significantly increased after exercise, whereas that in femoral vein in the working leg was not changed. The arteriovenous difference in ET-1 concentration was significantly increased after exercise in the circulation of the nonworking leg but not of the working leg, which suggests that the production of ET-1 was increased in the circulation of the nonworking leg by exercise. The present study also demonstrated that the plasma norepinephrine concentrations were elevated by exercise in the femoral veins of both the working and nonworking legs, suggesting that the sympathetic nerve activity was augmented in both legs during exercise. Therefore, the present study demonstrates the possibility that the increase in production of ET-1 in nonworking muscles may cause vasoconstriction and hence decrease blood flow in nonworking muscles through its direct vasoconstrictive action or through an indirect effect of ET-1 to enhance vasoconstrictions to norepinephrine and that these responses may be helpful in increasing blood flow in working muscles. We propose that endogenous ET-1 contributes to the exercise-induced redistribution of blood flow in muscles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1111
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • arteriovenous difference in endothelin-1 concentration
  • one-leg cycle ergometer exercise
  • redistribution of blood flow
  • skeletal muscles
  • working and nonworking muscles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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