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J Biol Chem. 2005 Jun 3;280(22):21594-9. Epub 2005 Mar 26.

Local atrial natriuretic peptide signaling prevents hypertensive cardiac hypertrophy in endothelial nitric-oxide synthase-deficient mice.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Universitätsklinikum Münster, D-48129 Münster, Germany.


The crucial functions of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and endothelial nitric oxide/NO in the regulation of arterial blood pressure have been emphasized by the hypertensive phenotype of mice with systemic inactivation of either the guanylyl cyclase-A receptor for ANP (GC-A-/-) or endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS-/-). Intriguingly, similar levels of arterial hypertension are accompanied by marked cardiac hypertrophy in GC-A-/-, but not in eNOS-/-, mice, suggesting that changes in local pathways regulating cardiac growth accelerate cardiac hypertrophy in the former and protect the heart of the latter. Our recent observations in mice with conditional, cardiomyocyte-restricted GC-A deletion demonstrated that ANP locally inhibits cardiomyocyte growth. Abolition of these local, protective effects may enhance the cardiac hypertrophic response of GC-A-/- mice to persistent increases in hemodynamic load. Notably, eNOS-/- mice exhibit markedly increased cardiac ANP levels, suggesting that increased activation of cardiac GC-A can prevent hypertensive heart disease. To test this hypothesis, we generated mice with systemic inactivation of eNOS and cardiomyocyte-restricted deletion of GC-A by crossing eNOS-/- and cardiomyocyte-restricted GC-A-deficient mice. Cardiac deletion of GC-A did not affect arterial hypertension but significantly exacerbated cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis in eNOS-/- mice. This was accompanied by marked cardiac activation of both the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) ERK 1/2 and the phosphatase calcineurin. Our observations suggest that local ANP/GC-A/cyclic GMP signaling counter-regulates MAPK/ERK- and calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T cells-dependent pathways of cardiac myocyte growth in hypertensive eNOS-/- mice.

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