Two types of natriuretic peptide, atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), very similar to each other in structure and in pharmacological effect, are known to be present in mammalian heart and brain. In our present survey for unidentified peptides in porcine brain extracts, we found a new peptide of 22 amino acid residues, eliciting a potent relaxant activity on chick rectum. The amino acid sequence determined for the peptide shows remarkable similarity to those of ANP and BNP, especially in the 17-residue sequences flanked by two cysteine residues. The peptide shows a pharmacological spectrum similar to ANP and BNP. Thus, the peptide was designated "C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP)", the third member to join the natriuretic peptide family. In contrast to ANP and BNP, CNP terminates in the second cysteine residue, lacking a further C-terminal extension.