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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 29;8(8):e72959. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072959. eCollection 2013.

Impact of obesity on the expression profile of natriuretic peptide system in a rat experimental model.

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CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, Pisa, Italy.


Natriuretic peptides (NPs) play an important role in obesity and aim of this study was to evaluate, in cardiac tissue of obese Zucker rats (O, n = 29) their transcriptomic profile compared to controls (CO, n = 24) by Real-Time PCR study; CNP protein expression was evaluated by immunostaining and immunometric tests. Myocardial histology was performed, confirming no alteration of organ structure. While ANP and BNP are cardiac peptides, CNP is mainly an endothelial hormone; thus its expression, as well as that of NPR-B and NPR-C, was also evaluated in kidney and lung of an animal subgroup (n = 20). In heart, lower BNP mRNA levels in O vs CO (p = 0.02) as well as ANP and CNP (p = ns), were detected. NPR-B/NPR-A mRNA was similar in O and CO, while NPR-C was numerically lower (p = ns) in O than in CO. In kidney, CNP/NPR-B/NPR-C mRNA was similar in O and CO, while in lung CNP/NPR-C expression decreased and NPR-B increased (p = ns) in O vs CO. Subdividing into fasting and hyperglycemic rats, the pattern of mRNA expression for each gene analyzed remained unchanged. The trend observed in heart, kidney and lung for CNP protein concentrations and immunohistochemistry reflected the mRNA expression. TNF-α and IL-6 mRNA were measured in each tissue and no significant genotype effect was detected in any tissue. The main NP variations were observed at the cardiac level, suggesting a reduced release by cardiac cells. The understanding of mechanisms involved in the modulation of the NP system in obesity could be a useful starting point for future clinical study devoted to identifying new obesity treatment strategies.

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