Endothelin-1 (ET-1) (1-100 nM) decreases the activity of Na,K-ATPase, a key enzyme responsible for aqueous humor formation, in transformed human non-pigmented ciliary epithelial (HNPE) cells. The present study sought to determine if ET-1 alters the expression of the catalytically active alpha subunit of Na,K-ATPase in HNPE cells and identify mechanisms underlying these effects. We report that acute (15 and 30 min) treatment with ET-1 results in an increase in mRNA expression of the α1 subunit of Na,K-ATPase. Similar to ET-1's effects, ouabain (100 μM), a selective inhibitor of Na,K-ATPase, and monensin (10 μM), a sodium ionophore, also increased Na,K-ATPase expression in HNPE cells. The increase in Na,K-ATPase expression by short-term treatment with ouabain and monensin was dependent on their ability to elevate intracellular sodium concentrations. However, acute ET-1 treatment mediated increase in Na,K-ATPase expression was independent of changes in intracellular sodium. A prolonged (24 hr) ET-1 treatment results in an increase in both mRNA and protein levels of the α1 subunit of Na,K-ATPase. These observations suggest that ET-1 could play a homeostatic role in modulating aqueous humor formation by having differential effects on the activity and expression of Na,K-ATPase by the ciliary epithelium in the eye.