Purpose: Secretion of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), a cardiac hormone, is accelerated via hypertrophied ventricles in experimental hypertension. The present study examined whether regression of left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy by long-term treatment with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) affects plasma BNP concentration in patients with essential hypertension.
Patients and methods: Thirty-one hypertensive patients with LV hypertrophy were treated with ACEI (16 with enalapril; 15 with lisinopril) for 1 year. Serial changes were recorded in LV mass index, LV systolic function, and plasma concentrations of BNP and atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP).
Results: ACEI therapy significantly reduced LV mass index at 6 months, and more so at 1 year. Septal and posterior wall thicknesses were also reduced. Plasma BNP and ANP were markedly elevated at study entry, but only BNP levels correlated with LV mass index. Both peptide levels declined after 6 months, and this decline was enhanced at 1 year. There was a close relation between BNP decline and LV mass index reduction overall and with enalapril and lisinopril separately. Changes in ANP and in LV mass index were not related.
Conclusion: Long-term ACEI therapy can reduce elevated plasma BNP. In this study, changes in BNP reflected the magnitude of regression of LVH. Plasma BNP may be a useful marker for LVH during antihypertensive therapy in patients with essential hypertension and LVH.