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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Atrial natriuretic peptide in brain and pituitary gland.

The data reviewed establish the presence and important role in body fluid homeostasis of brain atrial natriuretic peptide ( ANP) in all vertebrate-species examined. The peptide is localized in neurons in hypothalamic and brain stem areas involved in body fluid volume and blood pressure regulation, and its receptors are located in regions that contain the peptide. Most, if not all, of the actions of ANP are mediated by activation of particulate guanylyl cyclase with generation of guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate, which mediates its actions in brain as in the periphery. Although atrial stretch releases ANP from cardiac myocytes, the experiments indicate that the response to acute blood volume expansion is markedly reduced after elimination of neural control. Volume expansion distends baroreceptors in the right atria, carotid-aortic sinuses, and kidney, altering afferent input to the brain stem and hence the hypothalamus, resulting in stimulation via ANPergic neurons in the hypothalamus of oxytocin release from the neurohypophysis that circulates to the right atrium to stimulate ANP release. The ANP circulates to the kidney and induces natriuresis. Atrial natriuretic peptide also induces vasodilation compensating rapidly for increased blood volume by increased vascular capacity. Atrial natriuretic peptide released into hypophysial portal blood vessels inhibits release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), thereby decreasing aldosterone release and enhancing natriuresis. Furthermore, the ANP neurons inhibit AVP release leading to diuresis and decreased ACTH release. Activation of hypothalamic ANPergic neurons via volume expansion also inhibits water and salt intake. These inhibitory actions may be partially mediated via ANP neurons in the olfactory system altering salt taste. Atrial natriuretic peptide neurons probably also alter fluid movement in the choroid plexus and in other brain vascular beds. Therefore, brain ANP neurons play an important role in modulating not only intake of body fluids, but their excretion to maintain body fluid homeostasis.[1]


  1. Atrial natriuretic peptide in brain and pituitary gland. Gutkowska, J., Antunes-Rodrigues, J., McCann, S.M. Physiol. Rev. (1997) [Pubmed]
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