Cardiac Hormones and Neuroendocrine Function

  • Willis K. Samson
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 274)


There is abundant evidence that the heart, in addition to its function as a muscular pump, is an endocrine tissue which secretes a potent family of peptides with diverse biologic actions (1,2). First described by Flynn and colleagues (3), the atrial natriuretic peptides (ANPs) are produced by conventional protein synthesis, yet unconventional post-translational processing (4–7), in atrial and ventricular myocytes. The primary stimulus for secretion of these peptides is atrial stretch (8,9), induced by increased venous return, although interactive effects of hormones (10–12) and neural agents (13,14) have been described. The major secreted form of ANP is the 28 amino acid peptide possessing a 17 membered ring structure formed by an internal disulfide bond which appears necessary for the expression of this hormone’s bioactivity (15). In the rat ANP is initially synthesized as a larger molecular weight precursor, the 152 amino acid prepro-ANP, and is stored in secretory granules as the 126 amino acid prohormone, proANP (4–7). The final step in postranslational processing, cleavage of the Arg-Ser bond between positions 98 and 99, which occurs at the time of secretion (6,7), generates the mature 28 amino acid hormone and a small percentage of N- and C- terminally shortened fragments. The peptides circulate apparently unbound to plasma proteins and display an extremely short half-life, approximately 30 seconds (16). ANP is removed from plasma primarily in the kidney (17,18), although sequestration from plasma by clearance receptors (19) plays an important role as well. At least two classes of ANP been identified, one recently cloned and structurally sequenced (20) is called the B receptor. This receptor is thought to be the biologic receptor through which ANP exerts its major actions, via activation of particulate guanylate cyclase (21).


Brain Natriuretic Peptide Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Atrial Natriuretic Factor Neuroendocrine Function Plasma Atrial Natriuretic Peptide 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Willis K. Samson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy & NeurobiologyUniversity of Missouri, School of MedicineColumbiaUSA

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