Atrial natriuretic factor as a volume regulator

J Clin Pharmacol. 1994 May;34(5):424-6. doi: 10.1002/j.1552-4604.1994.tb04982.x.


Atrial natriuretic factor, originally isolated from the atrium of the heart, has been found to consist of three major groups: atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), B-form natriuretic peptide (BNP), and C-form natriuretic peptide (CNP). In addition, ANP exists in its precursor form, pro-ANP, an active ANP with a longer peptide chain (urodilatin) and an antiparallel dimer of active ANP. Sites and production of these diverse forms of the peptides are also diverse, depending on pathologic states. Three major subtypes of ANP receptors exist; these include a clearance receptor and two types of a transmembrane receptor with guanylyl cyclase structures in their intracellular domain. The latter exists at least in two forms, one of which is found mainly in the brain. All the actions of ANP mediated by the transmembrane form of ANP receptors are mediated by cGMP generated by the guanylyl cyclase in the cytosolic domain of the receptor. Among the numerous effects of ANP, its major effects are stimulation of natriuresis and diuresis by the kidney through its hemodynamic and tubular effects. In addition, ANP causes vasodilatation and fluid volume reduction by direct actions on vascular smooth muscle cells, and inhibition of secretion of hormones, such as aldosterone, from adrenal cortex and norepinephrine from peripheral adrenergic neurons. Centrally mediated effects on the regulation of the fluid volume may also be important.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor / chemistry
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor / metabolism*
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor / pharmacology
  • Blood Volume / physiology*
  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism
  • Diuresis
  • Guanylate Cyclase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Natriuresis
  • Receptors, Atrial Natriuretic Factor / metabolism


  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor
  • Guanylate Cyclase
  • Receptors, Atrial Natriuretic Factor
  • Cyclic GMP