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BACKGROUND: Hirschsprung's disease is associated with defects in the endothelin-3 and endothelin B receptor genes. AIM: To assess the in vivo vasomotor responses to endothelin B receptor stimulation in patients with Hirschsprung's disease. METHODS: Forearm blood flow was measured using venous occlusion plethysmography in 10 patients with Hirschsprung's disease and 10 matched healthy controls during intra-brachial infusion of the highly selective endothelin B receptor agonist, sarafotoxin S6c. To simulate endothelin B receptor dysfunction, sarafotoxin S6c was co-infused with the highly selective endothelin B receptor antagonist, BQ-788, in six of the healthy controls. RESULTS: Sarafotoxin S6c caused a brief initial vasodilatation followed by a slow-onset, sustained vasoconstriction (p<0.001). Compared to control subjects, patients with Hirschsprung's disease had a substantial impairment of the initial vasodilatation whilst producing a more pronounced subsequent vasoconstriction (p<0.001). In healthy controls, co-infusion of BQ-788 and sarafotoxin S6c caused a similar pattern of responses to those obtained in patients with Hirschsprung's disease: abolition of the initial vasodilatation and augmentation of subsequent vasoconstriction (p<0.001). DISCUSSION: In the majority of patients with Hirschsprung's disease, there is a functional defect of the vascular endothelin B receptor.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





159 - 163


Adult, Endothelin Receptor Antagonists, Female, Forearm, Hirschsprung Disease, Humans, Male, Oligopeptides, Piperidines, Receptor, Endothelin B, Receptors, Endothelin, Regional Blood Flow, Vasoconstrictor Agents, Vasomotor System, Viper Venoms