The natriuretic peptides (NP) are a group of structurally similar but genetically distinct peptides with many favorable physiological properties that have emerged as important candidates for development of diagnostic tools and therapeutic agents in cardiovascular diseases. The NP family includes atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP, 28AA), urodilatin (INN: Ularitide, 32 AA), B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP, 32AA), C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP, 22AA), and D-type natriuretic peptide (DNP, 38AA). They share common features and exhibit tissue distribution of gene expression as well as functional and pharmacological characteristics. The primary sites of synthesis of the NP are the heart and brain; additional extra cardiac and extra cranial sites include intestine and kidney. Membrane-bound guanyl cyclase-coupled NP receptors (NPR) (A- and B- types) are generally implicated in mediating NP effects via the production of cyclic GMP as the intracellular messenger. NPR-C lacking the guanyl cyclase domain may influence the target cell function through inhibitory guanine nucleotide (Gi) protein, and they likely also act as clearance receptors for circulating peptides. NPs are identified as regulatory diuretic-natriuretic substances responsible for salt and water homeostasis and as hormones lowering blood pressure. This review discusses the essential biochemistry, physiological properties of NP and their manifold functional implications in cardiovascular medicine.
Keywords: Natriuretic peptides, ANP, urodilatin, BNP, CNP, DNP
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