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J Physiol. 2008 Jan 15;586(2):353-66. Epub 2007 Nov 15.

Natriuretic peptide C receptor signalling in the heart and vasculature.

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Departments of Physiology, Heart and Stroke/Richard Lewar Centre, University of Toronto and University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3E2.


Natriuretic peptides (NPs), including atrial, brain and C-type natriuretic peptides (ANP, BNP and CNP), bind two classes of cell surface receptors: the guanylyl cyclase-linked A and B receptors (NPR-A and NPR-B) and the C receptor (NPR-C). The biological effects of NPs have been mainly attributed to changes in intracellular cGMP following their binding to NPR-A and NPR-B. NPR-C does not include a guanylyl cyclase domain. It has been denoted as a clearance receptor and is thought to bind and internalize NPs for ultimate degradation. However, a substantial body of biochemical work has demonstrated the ability of NPR-C to couple to inhibitory G proteins (Gi) and cause inhibition of adenylyl cyclase and activation of phospholipase-C. Recently, novel physiological effects of NPs, mediated specifically by NPR-C, have been discovered in the heart and vasculature. We have described the ability of CNP, acting via NPR-C, to selectively inhibit L-type calcium currents in atrial and ventricular myocytes, as well as in pacemaker cells (sinoatrial node myocytes). In contrast, our studies of the electrophysiological effects of CNP on cardiac fibroblasts demonstrated an NPR-C-Gi-phospholipase-C-dependent activation of a non-selective cation current mediated by transient receptor potential (TRP) channels. It is also known that CNP and BNP have important anti-proliferative effects in cardiac fibroblasts that appear to involve NPR-C. In the mammalian resistance vessels, including mesenteric and coronary arteries, CNP has been found to function as an NPR-C-dependent endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor that regulates local blood flow and systemic blood pressure by hyperpolarizing smooth muscle cells. In this review we highlight the role of NPR-C in mediating these NP effects in myocytes and fibroblasts from the heart as well as in vascular smooth muscle cells.

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