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Sci Rep. 2017 Dec 14;7(1):17564. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-17690-7.

Altered heart rate regulation by the autonomic nervous system in mice lacking natriuretic peptide receptor C (NPR-C).

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
School of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Natriuretic peptides (NPs) play essential roles in the regulation of cardiovascular function. NP effects are mediated by receptors known as NPR-A, NPR-B or NPR-C. NPs have potent effects on regulation of heart rate (HR) by the autonomic nervous system (ANS), but the role of NPR-C in these effects has not been investigated. Accordingly, we have used telemetric ECG recordings in awake, freely moving wildtype and NPR-C knockout (NPR-C-/-) mice and performed heart rate variability (HRV) analysis to assess alterations in sympatho-vagal balance on the heart following loss of NPR-C. Our novel data demonstrate that NPR-C-/- mice are characterized by elevations in HR, reductions in circadian changes in HR and enhanced occurrence of sinus pauses, indicating increased arrhythmogenesis and a loss of HRV. Time domain and frequency domain analyses further demonstrate that HRV is reduced in NPR-C-/- mice in association with a reduction in parasympathetic activity. Importantly, the low frequency to high frequency ratio was increased in NPR-C-/- mice indicating that sympathetic activity is also enhanced. These changes in autonomic regulation were confirmed using atropine and propranolol to antagonize the ANS. These findings illustrate that loss of NPR-C reduces HRV due to perturbations in the regulation of the heart by the ANS.

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