Natriuretic peptides are endogenous hormones released by the heart in response to myocardial stretch and overload. While atrial and brain natriuretic peptides (ANP, BNP) were immediately considered cardiac hormones and their role was well-characterized and defined in predicting risk in cardiovascular disease, evidence indicating the role of C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) in cardiovascular regulation was slow to emerge until about 8 years ago. Since then, considerable literature on CNP and the cardiovascular system has been published; the aim of this review is to examine current literature relating to CNP and cardiovascular disease, in particular its role in heart failure (HF) and myocardial infarction (MI). This review retraces the fundamental steps in research that led understanding the role of CNP in HF and MI; from increased CNP mRNA expression and plasmatic concentrations in humans and in animal models, to detection of CNP expression in cardiomyocytes, to its evaluation in human leukocytes. The traditional view of CNP as an endothelial peptide has been surpassed by the results of many studies published in recent years, and while its physiological role is still under investigation, information is now available regarding its contribution to cardiovascular function. Taken together, these observations suggest that CNP and its specific receptor, NPR-B, can play a very important role in regulating cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling, indicating NPR-B as a new potential drug target for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.