Endothelin (ET) is a peptide produced by cells in the blood vessels and has powerful vessel-constricting effects. Although endothelin is mainly associated with its role in blood pressure control and cardiovascular diseases, it continues to appear in other physiological functions and diseases. During the 14th International Conference on Endothelin: Physiology, Pathophysiology and Therapeutics, "Novel Integration" will showcase the breadth of endothelin research. Presentations will discuss the role of endothelin in vessel dysfunction in the brain, cognitive decline, sickle cell disease and skin pigmentation. "It is fascinating that one peptide can exert so many biological actions," says symposia chair Adviye Ergul, MD, PhD, one of the conference organizers.
The symposium's keynote presentation is "ET-1 and Neurovascular Coupling." Normally, brain blood flow responds immediately to changes in blood pressure and nutrients and oxygen demands. Presenter Constantino Iadecola, PhD, will discuss what happens when blood vessels and brain cells do not communicate effectively, called "neurovascular uncoupling." The brain either receives too little blood, leading to temporary loss of oxygen and stroke, or too much blood flow, resulting in hemorrhage. Dr. Iadecola will address the role of ET-1 in neurovascular uncoupling observed in hypertension and sleep apnea and the potential of targeting its receptor, endothelin A, as a treatment.
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