Bradykinin and structurally related peptides are potent vasodilators and a role for these kinins in the aetiology of the carcinoid flush has been proposed. Using an antiserum directed against the COOH‐terminal region of bradykinin in radioimmunoassay, the concentrations of bradykinin‐like immunoreactivity in extracts of peripheral blood were compared in patients with carcinoid syndrome (n = 11) and healthy subjects (n = 6). In the fasted state, the concentrations of bradykinin‐like immunoreactivity in the patients (10 ± 5 ng/l) were not significantly different from the concentrations in healthy subjects (6 ± 3 ng/l). An intravenous injection of pentagastrin (0.6 μg/kg) provoked a flush of differing degrees of severity in all patients. In four patients, the flush was concurrent with large rises (277‐, 26‐, 11‐ and 10‐fold over mean basal values) in bradykinin‐like immunoreactivity that was resolved by high performance liquid chromatography into lysyl‐bradykinin and bradykinin (approximate ratio 1:2). In two patients, small rises in immunoreactivity (2.4‐ and 1.7‐fold) occurred after the flush and in the remaining five patients no rise in bradykinin‐like immunoreactivity was measured. In the healthy subjects, the pentagastrin injection did not provoke a flush and no rises in bradykinin‐like immunoreactivity were observed. The data support earlier results obtained using bioassays that the carcinoid flush in some patients is associated with the appearance in blood of bradykinin‐related peptides. It has been shown, however, that these kinins cannot be the sole causative agent of the flush. It is suggested, therefore, that the aetiology of the flush is probably multi‐factorial.
|Number of pages
|Published - Aug 1988
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism