Endothelinlike immunoreactivity was detected by radioimmunoassay in medium conditioned by cultured endothelial cells obtained from bovine retinal microvessels (9.2 ± 6.5 pM, n = 4). Sephadex G-25 column chromatography and fast-protein liquid chromatography revealed that most of the endothelinlike immunoreactivity was eluted in an identical position to synthetic endothelin 1. Retinal capillary pericyte-conditioned medium contained 2.9 pM endothelinlike immunoreactivity. In contrast to endothelial cells, retinal pericytes were found to bind endothelin. The dissociation constant and binding capacity were 0.14 nM and 1.5 × 105 sites/cell (n = 3), respectively. These findings suggest that endothelin produced by the retinal endothelial cells binds to the pericytes, adding support to the suggestion that pericytes in the retina may have a musclelike function.

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