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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Dec;1832(12):2403-13. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2013.07.003. Epub 2013 Jul 12.

Regulation of expression of atrial and brain natriuretic peptide, biomarkers for heart development and disease.

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Dept of Anatomy, Embryology and Physiology, Heart Failure Research Center, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The mammalian heart expresses two closely related natriuretic peptide (NP) hormones, atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP). The excretion of the NPs and the expression of their genes strongly respond to a variety of cardiovascular disorders. NPs act to increase natriuresis and decrease vascular resistance, thereby decreasing blood volume, systemic blood pressure and afterload. Plasma levels of BNP are used as diagnostic and prognostic markers for hypertrophy and heart failure (HF), and both ANF and BNP are widely used in biomedical research to assess the hypertrophic response in cell culture or the development of HF related diseases in animal models. Moreover, ANF and BNP are used as specific markers for the differentiating working myocardium in the developing heart, and the ANF promoter serves as platform to investigate gene regulatory networks during heart development and disease. However, despite decades of research, the mechanisms regulating the NP genes during development and disease are not well understood. Here we review current knowledge on the regulation of expression of the genes for ANF and BNP and their role as biomarkers, and give future directions to identify the in vivo regulatory mechanisms. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Heart failure pathogenesis and emerging diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.


ANF; BNP; Development; Gene regulation; Heart failure; Natriuretic peptide

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