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Secondary activation of the endothelin system is thought to be involved in toxic liver injury. This study tested the hypothesis that dual endothelin-converting enzyme / neutral endopeptidase blockade might be able to attenuate acute toxic liver injury. - Male Sprague-Dawley rats were implanted with subcutaneous minipumps to deliver the novel compound SLV338 (10 mg/kg*d) or vehicle. Four days later they received two intraperitoneal injections of D-galactosamine (1.3 g/kg each) or vehicle at an interval of 12 hours. The animals were sacrificed 48 hours after the first injection. - Injection of D-galactosamine resulted in very severe liver injury, reflected by strongly elevated plasma liver enzymes, hepatic necrosis and inflammation, and a mortality rate of 42.9 %. SLV338 treatment did not show any significant effect on the extent of acute liver injury as judged from plasma parameters, hepatic histology and mortality. Plasma measurements of SLV338 confirmed adequate drug delivery. Plasma concentrations of big endothelin-1 and endothelin-1 were significantly elevated in animals with liver injury (5-fold and 62-fold, respectively). Plasma endothelin-1 was significantly correlated with several markers of liver injury. SLV338 completely prevented the rise of plasma big endothelin-1 (p<0.05) and markedly attenuated the rise of endothelin-1 (p = 0.055). - In conclusion, dual endothelin-converting enzyme / neutral endopeptidase blockade by SLV338 did not significantly attenuate D-galactosamine-induced acute liver injury, although it largely prevented the activation of the endothelin system. An evaluation of SLV338 in a less severe model of liver injury would be of interest, since very severe intoxication might not be relevantly amenable to pharmacological interventions.


Berthold Hocher, S Heiden, K von Websky, J Rahnenf├╝hre, P Kalk, T Pfab. Dual endothelin-converting enzyme/neutral endopeptidase blockade in rats with D-galactosamine-induced liver failure. European journal of medical research. 2011 Jun 21;16(6):275-9

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PMID: 21810562

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