REVIEW – October 2010

Physiological functions of the natriuretic peptide family


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The atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), the brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and the central natriuretic peptide (CNP) compose a family of structurally related, endocrine and paracrine hormones with biological activity on the cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, renal, gastrointestinal functions. There exist three distinct receptors (NPR-A, NPR-B and NPR-C) that activate the intracellular guanylyl cyclase and cGMP system. The NPR-C receptor is more known as a clearance receptor but it has also the ability to activate the intracellular phospholipase C /inositoltriphosphate (IP3) /calciumsystem. The BNP and NT-proBNP levels are elevated in the blood plasma of patients with cardial dysfunction, and this parameter is used as a marker of cardiac impairment.