Lege Artis Medicinae

[Should he who changes his country, change his heart?]

BÁLINT Géza

MARCH 31, 1992

Lege Artis Medicinae - 1992;2(03)

[I have slightly twisted Mihály Tompa's immortal line: 'Let him exchange hearts who exchanges homeland I'. The poet could hardly have imagined that his heartbreaking metaphor would become flesh and blood reality a century later, because it is possible to exchange hearts. In fact, twenty years after the first heart transplant, a Hungarian heart can be exchanged for a Hungarian heart; the heart of one unfortunate man can save another unfortunate young man.]

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[The discovery of endothelium-derived relaxing (prostacyclin, EDRF) and contracting factors (EDCF) in the last decade opened up new vistas in investigating the regulation of the cardiovascular system. In this review, recent results of the research of a 21 amino acid residue EDCF, called Endothelin, including its discovery, isolation, biosynthesis, tissue specific expression, receptors and the characteristics of the Endothelin converting enzyme are summarized. Based on present knowledge of the wide variety of biological actions of Endothelins, we present their possible autocrine, paracrine and humoral actions, and their significance in the physiological regulation of the cardiovascular system as well as in pathological conditions. Despite the abundance of information however, the actual role of Endothelins in the short- and long-term modulation of the tissue function still remains to be determined.]

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