Urotensin II is a potent vasoconstrictor, which also has some vasodilatory properties. We investigated its expression in various tissues and in the plasma of patients with renal dysfunction. Plasma concentrations of urotensin II-like immunoreactivity were 2-fold higher in patients not on dialysis and 3-fold higher in those on haemodialysis than in healthy individuals. Messenger RNA encoding the urotensin II precursor and the urotensin II receptor precursor were expressed in various human tissues. The peptide might act as an important regulator in the cardiovascular and renal systems. Urotensin II antagonists could, therefore, be useful in the treatment of diseases affecting these organs.
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