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Ann Biol Clin (Paris). 1999 Mar-Apr;57(2):149-55.

[Atrial natriuretic hormone and endocrine functions].

[Article in French]

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Service d'endocrinologie et maladies métaboliques, Clinique Marc-Linquette, USN-A, CHRU, 6, rue du Professeur-Laguesse, 59037 Lille Cedex.


The atrial natriuretic hormone (ANP) is a cardiac hormone which gene and receptors are widely present in the body. Its main function is to lower blood pressure and to control electrolyte homeostasis. Its main targets are the kidney and the cardiovascular system but ANP interacts with many other hormones in order to regulate their secretion. The adrenal glands are the first endocrine target. Steroidogenesis, especially mineralocorticoid synthesis, is inhibited by ANP, but glucocorticoid production seems to be depressed too. As ANP synthesis is enhanced by the latter, it suggests a regulatory loop. Moreover ANP inhibits the thyroid synthesis whereas its production is enhanced by thyroid hormone. The hypothalamo-hypophyseal axis is another important target. ANP inhibits ACTH release and arginine vasopressin secretion. Vasopressin enhances ANP synthesis while GH decreases it. Finally the endocrine effects of ANP strengthen the cardiovascular and renal effects of the hormone, antagonizing the salt and water retention due to aldosterone and AVP. Because of a local production, ANP may also act as a paracrine hormone that influences the function of many endocrine systems (ovarian function for instance). In the central nervous system, ANP acts as a neurotransmitter in order to regulate pituitary and vegetative functions. Plasma ANP levels are impaired in several endocrine diseases : the plasma hormone levels increase in hypercortisolism, hyperaldosteronism, thyrotoxicosis and inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion; it decreases in hypothyroidism. In case of Addison's disease, ANP may be used to assess the quality of mineralocorticoid treatment, in association with the other biological criteria.

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