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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2006 February;97(1):79-93


language: Italian

The cardiac natriuretic peptides

Vittorini S. 1, Masini M. 2, Clerico A. 1

1 Istituto di Fisiologia del CNR, Pisa 2 Dipartimento di Patologia Sperimentale Università degli Studi di Pisa, Pisa


Cardiac natriuretic peptides (including ANP, BNP, CNP and urodilatin) constitute a family of peptide hormones and neurotransmitters, sharing similar chemical structure (characterized by a cysteine bridge) and biological function. ANP and BNP are cardiac hormones because they are principally produced and secreted by cardiomyocytes. CNP is principally produced and secreted by endothelial cells, while urodilatin only by renal tubular cells. Natriuretic peptides share a direct diuretic, natriuretic and vasodilator effect and an inhibitory action on ventricular myocyte contraction as well as on remodeling, restenosis and other inflammatory processes of myocardium and smooth muscle cells. Cardiac natriuretic peptides share their biological action by means of specific receptors (NPR), which are present into the cell membranes of target tissues. Three different subtypes of NPRs have been so far identified in mammalian tissues. NPR-A and NPR-B are generally considered to mediate all known biological actions throughout the guanylate cyclase (GC) intracellular domain, while the third member of the natriuretic peptide receptor family, the NPR-C receptor, has not a GC domain. It is generally thought that the NPR-C is not linked to GC and so serves as a clearance receptor. Natriure-tic peptides constitute a family sharing both endocrine. paracrine and autocrine actions and neurotrasmitter and immuno-modulator functions. Therefore, it can be hypothesized that the cardiac natriuretic peptide system is closely related with other regulatory systems in a biological hierarchical networks.

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