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Peptides. 2011 Aug;32(8):1713-8. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2011.06.014. Epub 2011 Jun 23.

Expression of C-type natriuretic peptide and its receptor NPR-B in cardiomyocytes.

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CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology Laboratory of Cardiovascular Biochemistry, Via Giuseppe Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy.


C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) was recently found in myocardium at the mRNA and protein levels, but it is not known whether cardiomyocytes are able to produce CNP. The aim of this study was to determine the expression of CNP and its specific receptor NPR-B in cardiac cells, both in vitro and ex vivo. CNP, brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and natriuretic peptide receptor (NPR)-B mRNA expression were examined by RT-PCR in the H9c2 rat cardiac myoblast cell line, in neonatal rat primary cardiomyocytes and in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) as control. CNP protein expression was probed in cardiac tissue sections obtained from adult male minipigs by immunohistochemistry, and in H9c2 cells both by immunocytochemistry and by specific radioimmunoassay. The results showed that cardiac cells as well as endothelial cells were able to produce CNP. Unlike cardiomyocytes, as expected, in endothelial cells expression of BNP was not detected. NPR-B mRNA expression was found in both cell types. Production of CNP in the heart muscle cells at protein level was confirmed by radioimmunological determination (H9c2: CNP=0.86 ± 0.083 pg/mg) and by immunocytochemistry studies. By immunostaining of tissue sections, CNP was detected in both endothelium and cardiomyocytes. Expression of CNP in cardiac cells at gene and protein levels suggests that the heart is actively involved in the production of CNP.

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