Introduction: Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), composed by 28 amino-acids, is well
known to modulate fluid and electrolyte homeostasis, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis
activity and the immune system. Since ANP is produced in both heart and in the central nervous system
(CNS), in the last years, increasing attention has been devoted to its possible role in neuropsychiatric
disorders. Indeed, scattered data would indicate its possible role in anxiety, major depression,
addictive behaviors, post-traumatic stress disorder and other stress-related disorders. Further, ANP
has been hypothesized to represent one of the factors linking depression to cardiovascular health and
the immune system.
Aims: Given the paucity of available information, the aim of this paper was to review the current
literature on the role of ANP in the CNS and in the pathophysiology of different neuropsychiatric and
Discussion: Supporting data on ANP in psychiatric disorders are still limited to animal studies, or to
a few “real” findings in patients gathered some decades ago that should be replicated in larger clinical
Conclusion: Further studies are necessary to understand the possible implications of ANP in neuropsychiatry,
because potentially it might represent a new way for innovative psychopharmacological
treatments in different conditions, all underlaid by hyperactive HPA axis.