Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) from 3 different species was cleaved by neutral endopeptidase (NEP) and the products separated by HPLC. The newly formed products were identified by fast atom bombardment or nebulizer-assisted electrospray mass spectrometry to elucidate the sites of proteolysis. Porcine BNP was cleaved at the Arg8-Leu9 and Ser14-Leu15 bonds. Rat BNP was cleaved at the Arg23-Leu24 and Arg30-Leu31 bonds. Human BNP was cleaved at the Pro2-Lys3, Met4-Val5 and Arg17-Leu18 bonds. The Cys-Phe bond which is present in all species of BNP is not cleaved by NEP.