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Am J Kidney Dis. 1992 Nov;20(5):519-30.

The natriuretic peptides and their receptors.

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Department of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, NY.


Atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) is released from the cardiac atrium in response to stretch and acts through receptors to cause an increase in urinary flow and sodium excretion, vasodilatation, and a reduction in blood volume. Recently, two new natriuretic peptides, brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and C-type natriuretic peptide (C-typeNP), have been isolated, and three different natriuretic peptide receptors have been identified. Two of the receptors, ANP-RGC(A) and ANP-RGC(B), mediate biologic actions. The natural ligand of ANP-RGC(A) is ANF, whereas that of ANP-RGC(B) is C-typeNP. In view of clear differences in ligand specificity and tissue distribution of these receptors, it has been proposed that ANF and its receptor, ANP-RGC(A), and C-typeNP and its receptor, ANP-RGC(B), represent two distinct natriuretic peptide regulatory systems. Whether a separate system exists that incorporates BNP awaits clarification of its natural receptor that mediates a biologic action. The third receptor, ANP-Rc, binds all three natriuretic peptides. Its messenger RNA lacks the guanylyl cyclase sequence present in the mRNA of the other natriuretic peptide receptors, suggesting that the principal function of ANP-Rc is to remove natriuretic peptides from the circulation, that is, to regulate plasma levels of the natriuretic peptides. However, ANP-Rc may also mediate a biologic effect. These findings raise several intriguing questions about the functional role of this family of natriuretic peptides.

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