Secreted by the heart, more specifically by atrial cardiomyocytes under normal conditions but also by ventricular myocytes during cardiac hypertrophy, natriuretic peptides are now considered important hormones in the control of blood pressure and salt and water excretion. Studies on natriuretic peptide secretagogues and their mechanisms of action have been complicated by hemodynamic changes and contractions to which the atria are constantly subjected. It now appears that atrial stretch through mechano-sensitive ion channels, adrenergic stimulation via α-adrenergic receptors, and endothelin via its ET receptor subtype are major triggering agents of natriuretic peptide release. With several other stimuli, such as angiotensin II and β-adrenergic agents, modulation of natriuretic peptide release appears to be linked to local generation of prostaglandins. In all cases, intracellular calcium homeostasis, controlled by several ion channels, is considered a key element in the regulation of natriuretic peptide secretion.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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