Angiotensin II potentiates methacholine-evoked bronchoconstriction both in bovine airways in vitro and in asthmatic patients in vivo. Angiotensin II also potentiates endothelin-1-evoked contractions in vitro, but fails to alter such contractions in vivo. One possible confounding factor in patients is their use of inhaled corticosteroids. Accordingly the present study examined the effects of hydrocortisone (cortisol) on contractions evoked by methacholine and endothelin-1 in the presence and absence of angiotensin II. Contractions of rings of isolated bovine airways were measured isometrically in organ baths. Concentration–response curves were obtained for endothelin-1 or methacholine in the presence and absence of angiotensin II, hydrocortisone and a combination of angiotensin II and hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone abolished the angiotensin II-mediated potentiation of endothelin-1-evoked, but not methacholine-evoked, contractions. Hydrocortisone alone evoked the enhancement of methacholine responses, similar to the effect produced by angiotensin II. While species differences may exist, our present results suggest that the use of corticosteroids can have a profound effect on the interaction between angiotensin II and endothelin-1. Accordingly, the presence of inhaled corticosteroids might explain the differences between the results obtained in vitro and in vivo.

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