Urotensin-II (U-II) is a "somatostatin-like" cyclic neuropeptide which was originally isolated from goby fish urophysis, and subsequently identified in other species, including man. The interest in human U-II (hU-II) has grown enormously in the last few years, following the identification
of a specific human receptor (formerly identified as the GPR14/SENR orphan receptor), now referred to as UT receptor. The U-II/UT system seems to play an important role in cardiovascular functions. hU-II vasoconstrictive potency is reported to be an order of magnitude greater than that of
endothelin-1 (ET-1), which would make it the most potent mammalian vasoconstrictor identified to date. hU-II also exerts potent inotropic effects in the human heart in vitro. On the basis of its spectrum of activities, hU-II has been suggested to modulate cardiovascular homeostasis and possibly
to be involved in certain cardiovascular pathologies. Central nervous effects of U-II have also been described, in particular, intracerebroventricular administration promotes anxiogenic-like behaviors in rodents. Furthermore, UT receptor overexpression has been observed in some tumor cell
lines. Therefore, specific and selective UT receptor antagonists provide useful tools for investigating the (patho)physiological role(s) of the U-II/UT receptor system. In this review we aim to provide an overview of the research in the area of UT receptor antagonists as well as the progress
in understanding the role of the UII/ UT system in human (patho)physiology.
Department of Pharmaceutical and Toxicological Chemistry, University of Naples "Federico II", Via D. Montesano, 49 - 80131 - Naples, ITALY.
Publication date: February 1, 2006
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