Several studies have indicated that endothelin-1 (ET-1) and endothelin- 3 (ET-3) are produced by different cells. Although ET-1 is produced by vascular endothelial cells, these cells do not produce ET-3. The presence of ET-3 in the brain of several species suggests that ET-3 is a novel neuropeptide. It is unclear whether there are differences in the release of ET-1 and ET-3 under various physiological conditions in humans. In the present study, we measured the plasma concentrations of both ET-1 and ET-3 before and after endurance exercise on a cycle ergometer. Male athletes exercised on a cycle ergometer for 30 min at intensity of 130% of their individual ventilatory threshold (VT), which is intense exercise. Plasma ET- 1 and ET-3 were greatly elevated by exercise, but there was a marked difference in the time-course of the change in plasma concentration between the two peptides. The level of ET-1 peaked 30 min after exercise, whereas that of ET-3 peaked immediately after exercise. Thus, plasma ET-3 increased faster than plasma ET-1 after exercise. The exercise-induced change in the time course in plasma ET-3, but not in ET-1, is similar to that in plasma norepinephrine which is a neurotransmitter, suggesting that the rapid elevation in plasma ET-3 is partly attributable to the neuronal response to exercise. The observed difference in the change in the time course of plasma ET-1 and ET-3 levels suggests that the mechanisms by which exercise alters the release and/or synthesis of these two peptides differ.
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