It has been unclear whether the increases in transcript accumulation for atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) during pressure overload are caused by the direct hemodynamic stress imposed on the myocytes or mediated by systemic hormonal factors. We examined the levels and regional distributions of ANP and BNP mRNAs in the hypertrophied right ventricle produced by experimental coarctation of main pulmonary artery (PA) in rats and compared them with those of skeletal alpha-actin mRNA, which is known to be a genetic marker for cardiac hypertrophy. In this experimental model, the left ventricle was free from the influence of pressure overload. By Northern blot analysis, remarkable increases in mRNAs for ANP and BNP, as well as skeletal alpha-actin, were observed in the right ventricle at 1 day after PA banding. Changes of expression of these genes were minimal in the left ventricle. ANP mRNA levels in the right ventricle increased further at days 3 and 7, whereas BNP mRNA remained at its day 1 level through 7 days. Increased expression of ANP, BNP, and skeletal alpha-actin mRNAs occurred exclusively in the right ventricular (RV) free wall and in the junctional region between the RV free wall and the interseptal wall as determined by in situ hybridization. These data suggest that local stimuli caused by hemodynamic overload induce cardiac hypertrophy and its associated increases in ANP and BNP expression in the RV free wall.