Summary. The natriuretic peptides are a group of structurally related but genetically distinct peptides. Four types of natriuretic peptides have been found thus far: atrial hatriuretic peptide (ANP), brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) and Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide (DNP). ANP and BNP are secreted mainly from the heart and function as hormones with vasodilatory and natriuretic effects. CNP originates mainly from endothelial cells with a paracrine effect to induce vasodilation. Other effects of natriuretic peptides including negative inotropy, antimitogenic and anticoagulation have been described. Three types of natriuretic peptide receptors mediate their functions, and among them two are cGMP-coupled. Clearance of natriuretic peptides is via its clearance receptor through the action of neutral endopeptidases. Natriuretic peptides interact with other vasoactive peptides including endothelin. The putative role of natriuretic peptides in the patho-physiology of various cardiovascular diseases including congestive heart failure, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and cardiomyopathy are discussed. Natriuretic peptide plasma levels are used for the diagnosis and therapeutic follow-up of congestive heart failure patients. Increasing the levels of natriuretic peptides by natriuretic peptide mimetics and neutral endopeptidase inhibitors may provide a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases such as congestive heart failure and hypertension.
- Natriuretic peptide