The exocrine pancreas is an extracardiac source of atrial natriuretic peptide

  • Ana C. Najenson
  • Mariana Bianchi
  • Ana P. Courreges
  • Myrian R. Rodriguez
  • Víctor H. Casco
  • Marcelo S. Vatta
  • Liliana G. BianciottiEmail author
Signaling and cell physiology
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Signaling and cell physiology


Previous studies have shown that atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) regulates exocrine pancreatic function in health and disease. As extracardiac sources of ANP have been identified and ANP-like immunoreactivity has been reported in the exocrine pancreas, in the present work we sought to establish whether ANP was produced in the rat exocrine pancreas and if conditions like fasting/feeding or acute pancreatitis were reflected on ANP expression. By using RT-PCR, immunoblotting, and immunofluorescence microscopy assays, it was found that both mRNA and protein ANP were present in the acinar cells of the exocrine pancreas. The amount of ANP in the pancreas was lower in than the atrium but similar to other tissues like the kidney and liver. Immunogold labeling electron microscopy studies revealed that ANP was localized in zymogen granules and the endoplasmic reticulum suggesting local synthesis and package into granules. ANP protein expression was significantly increased not only in fasting but also in acute pancreatitis, the latter probably related to impaired secretion. Natriuretic peptide receptor type C which mediates ANP biological effects in the exocrine pancreas was also present in acinar cells and its expression did not change with either fasting or acute pancreatitis. Present findings show that the exocrine pancreas is a relatively important extracardiac source of ANP and further support previous studies strongly suggesting the active role of the peptide in pancreatic physiology and pathophysiology.


Natriuretic peptides Pancreas Acinar cells Acute pancreatitis Exocrine pancreas 



The authors thank Mrs. Margarita Lopez from the Instituto de Biologia Celular y Neurociencia (IBCN-CONICET-UBA), Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires for excellent technical assistance with immunogold labeling studies.


This work was supported by grants from the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (ANPCyT) (PICT2012-2755 and PICT2015-2030) and Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBACYT 20020130100811BA).

Compliance with ethical standards

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Cátedra de GenéticaUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.CONICET-Instituto de Inmunología, Genética y Metabolismo (INIGEM)Universidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Facultad de Ingeniería-Bioingeniería, Laboratorio de Microscopía Aplicada a Estudios Moleculares y CelularesUniversidad Nacional de Entre RíosParanáArgentina
  4. 4.Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Cátedra de FisiologíaUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  5. 5.CONICET-Instituto de Química y Metabolismo del Fármaco (IQUIMEFA)Universidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  6. 6.Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Cátedra de FisiopatologíaUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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