The effect of a continuous infusion of human brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) was studied in 48 healthy men. The study was randomized, placebo controlled, and single blind. BNP was given in doses of 1, 2, or 4 pmol ⋅ kg−1 ⋅ min−1for 60 min, and peak values of BNP in plasma were 38, 85, and 199 pmol/l, giving increments in plasma as seen in heart or renal failure. BNP infusion increased the urinary flow rate and the excretion of sodium in a dose-dependent way. The maximal effects were +65 and +156%, respectively. GFR increased and RPF decreased, the latter in a dose-dependent manner. Blood pressure, heart rate, angiotensin II, and aldosterone were all unaffected by infusion of BNP, whereas a direct inhibition of renin secretion was seen. With the use of the lithium clearance technique, we concluded that the tubular site of action is in both the proximal and distal segments, and the major effect on sodium handling is in the distal parts of the nephron.
- sodium excretion
- urinary flow rate
- renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system
- lithium clearance
brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) is a well-characterized peptide normally found in humans, and it belongs to the group of natriuretic peptides (20, 27). BNP is thought to participate in the normal homeostatic mechanisms that maintain the composition and volume of the extracellular fluid (14, 28). BNP is known to have natriuretic, diuretic, and vasorelaxant properties and may have antagonistic effects on the renin-angiotensin (ANG)-aldosterone (Aldo) system (14, 32). Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and BNP have similar properties, but the half-life of BNP is five- to sixfold longer, and BNP is mainly secreted from the ventricles in the heart, whereas ANP mainly derives from the atria (9, 21, 33).
The level of BNP in the blood has been found to be elevated in different diseases, e.g., myocardial infarction, chronic heart failure, acute and chronic renal failure, and hypertension (2, 13, 15, 22). However, the importance of BNP in healthy humans and in patients is not clarified, and no major dose-response studies are available regarding the effect of BNP infusion on renal sodium and water handling, renal hemodynamics, and vasoactive hormones.
The purpose of the present dose-response study was to measure the effect of BNP infusion in healthy humans on the following variables: urinary sodium and potassium excretion (UNaV and UKV, respectively), urinary flow rate (UV), glomerular filtration rate (GFR), renal plasma flow (RPF), filtration fraction (FF), segmental (proximal and distal) tubular function determined by use of lithium clearance, plasma concentrations of ANP, BNP, renin, ANG II, Aldo, and arginine vasopressin (AVP), plasma concentration of guanosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP), urinary excretion rate of cGMP, blood pressure, and heart rate. We attempted to achieve an increase in plasma BNP level during infusion that was within pathophysiological ranges such as is seen in chronic heart and renal failure.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Study subjects. Men aged 18–40 yr were studied. The exclusion criteria were1) clinical or laboratory signs or evidence of diseases in the liver, heart, kidneys, lungs or endocrine organs, hypertension, or a history of bladder dysfunction,2) smoking,3) alcohol abuse (defined as more than an average of 21 drinks/wk), or4) ongoing medical treatment of any kind. Withdrawal criteria during the study were1) adverse effects,2) incomplete emptying of the bladder, i.e., a difference of >15% between the two baseline clearance periods, or 3) unwillingness to participate. A medical history was taken, and a physical examination was performed in all subjects. In addition, blood samples (hemoglobin, sedimentation rate, white blood cell count including a differential count, platelet count, plasma sodium, plasma potassium, plasma calcium, plasma phosphorus, plasma creatinine, plasma albumin, plasma glucose, plasma alanine aminotransferase, plasma alkaline phosphatase, plasma bilirubin, and plasma cholesterol) and urine samples (albumin, glucose, hemoglobin, nitrite) were analyzed, and an electrocardiogram was recorded.
Fifty-three subjects were included, but five were withdrawn due to incomplete emptying of the bladder (n = 2), signs of beginning vasovagal syncope at the start of the study during insertion of an intravenous cannula (n = 2), or difficulties with blood sampling (n = 1). The clinical data for the remaining 48 men are given in Table 1, which shows the data for each of the four groups included. Informed consent was obtained according to the regulations of the local medical ethics committee.
Design. The study was randomized, placebo controlled, and single blind. Each subject received either infusion of BNP or placebo for 1 h. The BNP infusion was given in three doses, namely 1, 2, and 4 pmol ⋅ kg−1 ⋅ min−1(BNP1, BNP2, and BNP4, respectively). Subjects were included until 48 subjects had completed the study without developing withdrawal criteria. The 48 subjects were randomized into four groups containing 12 subjects each.
Procedure. The subjects were on an unrestricted diet. A 24-h urine collection was carried out the day before the study to evaluate UNaV and UKV. On the study day, the subjects arrived at the laboratory in the morning at 8:00 A.M. after fasting for 8 h. They continued fasting to the end of the study. They received 200 ml of water at 30-min intervals from 7:00 A.M. to the end of the study to maintain a constant urine production. The day before the examination, the subjects took a 300-mg lithium carbonate tablet at 10:00 P.M. The subjects were in the supine position during the examination, except when voiding, which took place in the standing position. At 9:00 A.M., priming doses of51Cr-EDTA and125I-labeled hippuran were given intravenously followed by a continuous infusion to the end of the study. After 1 h was allowed for equilibrium, urine was collected for six consecutive clearance periods of 30 min each (two control periods, two infusion periods, and two control periods) from 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. BNP (Clinalfa, Läufelfingen, Switzerland) in doses of 1, 2, and 4 pmol ⋅ kg−1 ⋅ min−1was given as a continuous infusion in 30 ml physiological salt solution (0.9% sodium chloride solution) from 11:00 A.M. to noon. The placebo was the physiological salt solution alone.
Urine was analyzed for 51Cr-EDTA,125I-hippuran, sodium, potassium, lithium and cGMP. At the beginning and at the end of each clearance period, venous blood samples were collected for determination of serum51Cr-EDTA,125I-hippuran, sodium, potassium, lithium, osmolarity, and hematocrit. Blood samples for determination of ANP, renin, ANG II, Aldo, AVP, and cGMP were drawn before infusion, at the end of the infusion, and 1 h after the end of the infusion. BNP was measured before the start of infusion, after 30 min of infusion, and after 60 min of infusion, i.e., at termination of the infusion, and, in addition, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 60 min after the termination of infusion. After each blood sample was drawn, an equal volume of 0.9% sodium chloride solution was given intravenously. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured two times at the beginning and at the end of each clearance period.
Methods. GFR was determined as the clearance of 51Cr-EDTA, and RPF was determined as the125I-hippuran clearance. The continuous infusion technique was used, preceded by a bolus injection of the same substances. FF was calculated as GFR/RPF × 100%.
Lithium in plasma and urine was determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Sodium and potassium in plasma and urine were determined by conventional methods at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Skejby Hospital.
Segmental tubular function was determined by use of the lithium clearance technique, which assumes that lithium is only reabsorbed in the proximal tubule and to the same degree as sodium and water (31). Lithium clearance (CLi) equals the output of isotonic fluid from the proximal tubule. With the use of GFR, lithium clearance, clearance of sodium (CNa), and concentration of sodium in plasma (PNa), the following parameters could be calculated GFR, RPF, lithium clearance, and the derived parameters were standardized to a body surface of 1.73 m2.
BNP was determined by a newly established radioimmunoassay (RIA; see Ref. 11). BNP was extracted from plasma by use of Sep-Pak C18 cartridges (Waters Associates). These were activated by methanol and an acetic acid solution before the plasma was applied. The cartridges were washed in an acetic acid solution, and BNP was eluted with 80% ethanol in 4% acetic acid. The tracer was125I-Tyr-BNP, and the separation of free and bound tracer was performed by a polyethylene glycol method. There was no cross-reactivity with ANP. The intra-assay and interassay coefficients of variation were 8.0 and 12.9%, respectively, for a sample pool with a mean BNP level of 1.2 pmol/l. The corresponding values for a sample pool with a mean BNP level of 6.4 pmol/l were 3.7 and 8.4%, respectively. The detection limit was 0.6 pmol/l.
ANP was determined by RIA as previously described (30). In brief, ANP was extracted from plasma employing Sep-Pak C18 cartridges using ethanol, acetic acid, and water. For RIA, an ANP antibody raised in rabbits was obtained from the Department of Clinical Chemistry, Bispebjerg Hospital (Copenhagen, Denmark). The minimal detection limit was 0.5 pmol/l plasma, and the intra-assay and interassay coefficients of variation were 10 and 12%, respectively. There was no cross-reactivity with BNP.
ANG II was determined by RIA by a modification of a previously described method (12). RIA was performed after extration from plasma by Sep-Pak C18 cartridges using methanol and water. Antibody against ANG II was raised in rabbits and was obtained from the Department of Clinical Physiology, Glostrup Hospital (Copenhagen, Denmark). The detection level was 2 pmol/l plasma. The intra-assay and interassay coefficients of variation were 8 and 12%, respectively.
Aldo was measured by a modified RIA method described previously (25). Aldo was extrated from plasma by Sep-Pak C18 cartridges using triflouroacetic acid, methanol, and water. The Aldo antibody raised in rabbits was purchased from Biogenesis (Simoco, Denmark). The lower detection limit was 42 pmol/l. The intra-assay and interassay coefficients of variation were 9 and 13%, respectively.
AVP was measured by a modification of a previously described method (24). AVP was extracted from plasma by Sep-Pak C18 cartridges using triflouroacetic acid, methanol, and water. The RIA was performed using an antibody raised in rabbits provided as a gift by Jacques Dürr, Department of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Center (Bay Pines, FL). The lower detection limit was 0.5 pmol/l. The intra-assay variation was 9%, and the interassay variation was 13%.
cGMP and renin were measured by commercial RIA kits (Amersham International and Nichols Institute). For cGMP, the intra-assay and interassay coefficients of variation were 6 and 9%, respectively, and, for renin, 2.5 and 7.4%, respectively.
Blood pressure and heart rate were measured by automatic equipment. At each examination, the blood pressure was tested against a Hawkley random zero sphygmomanometer.
Statistics. Nonparametric tests were used for the the statistical evaluation. Multiple unpaired comparisons between groups were performed by use of the Kruskal-Wallis test and were made on the relative changes from baseline value within each group. The Kruskal-Wallis test was also used for comparison of baseline values between groups on the absolute values. Association between two variables was evaluated by calculating the Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient. A P value of 0.05 was considered statistically significant. The mean value of the two first clearance periods was used as the baseline level for evaluation of renal function. The value before infusion was used as the baseline value for the hormonal parameters. Results are given as median values with ranges in parentheses, except when stated otherwise.
Urine volume, UNaV, and UKV.
Urine volume increased in a dose-dependent way during BNP infusion, and the increases were significant for BNP2 in period 4 and for BNP4 in periods 3 and 4. The maximal increase was 65% for BNP4 in period 4. For BNP2 and BNP4, there was a significant decrease in period 6.
UNaV increased in a dose-dependent way during BNP infusion for BNP1 and BNP2, but no further increment was seen for BNP4. The increases were significant for BNP2 and BNP4 inperiods 3-5. The maximal increase was 156% for BNP2 in period 4. The fractional excretion of sodium also increased in a dose-dependent way during BNP infusion but for all of the BNP doses given. The increases were significant for BNP2 and BNP4 inperiods 3-5.
For UKV, there was an increasing tendency in the second period of infusion at the two highest doses of BNP, but the increase was significant for only BNP2 inperiod 4.
GFR, RPF, and FF. GFR, RPF, and FF are given in Table 2.
GFR increased at the two highest doses of BNP during infusion, and the increases were significant for BNP2 and BNP4 in period 4.
RPF decreased during infusion of BNP and continued to fall in the postinfusion periods for all of the BNP doses. The decreases were largest in the BNP4 dose group and were significant for BNP1 inperiods 3-6, for BNP2 inperiod 6, and for BNP4 inperiods 4-6.
FF increased during infusion of BNP for all of the doses and decreased in the postinfusion periods toward the preinfusion level. The increase was largest in the highest BNP dose in period 4. The increases were significant for BNP1 inperiods 3-6, for BNP2 inperiods 4-6, and for BNP4 inperiods 3-6.
Proximal and distal tubular function. Lithium clearance, fractional excretion of lithium, proximal absolute reabsorption of sodium, proximal fractional reabsorption, distal absolute reabsorption of sodium, and distal fractional reabsorption of sodium are given in Table 3.
Lithium clearance increased during infusion for all of the three BNP levels given and was highest for the BNP4 at the end of infusion. The increases were significant for BNP2 and BNP4 in period 3 and 4 and also inperiod 5 for BNP2. The fractional excretion of lithium followed the pattern of lithium clearance, and the increases were significant for BNP2 and BNP4 inperiods 3 and4 and also in periods 5 and 6 for BNP2.
The proximal absolute reabsorption of sodium was unchanged (except for BNP4 in period 6 where there was a slight decrease, which was significant), whereas the proximal fractional reabsorption decreased during BNP infusions lasting to the end of the examination but did not show any clear dose-dependent trend. The decreases were significant for BNP2 and BNP4 inperiods 3 and4 but also in periods 5 and 6 for BNP2.
The distal absolute reabsorption of sodium increased slightly during BNP infusion, and the increases were significant for BNP2 and BNP4 inperiods 3 and4 and also in period 5 for BNP2. The distal fractional reabsorption of sodium decreased during infusion in a dose-dependent way, and the decrease was also present in period 5. The relative decreases were significant for BNP2 and BNP4 inperiods 4 and5 and also in period 3 for BNP4.
BNP and cGMP. The level of plasma BNP is given in Fig. 2. The median value for all of the groups taken together was 1.2 pmol/l (range 0.6–4.6 pmol/l). There was no significant effect of time on plasma BNP in the placebo group. The peak values of BNP at the end of infusion were 38 pmol/l (19–52 pmol/l), 85 pmol/l (32–153 pmol/l), and 199 pmol/l (125–353 pmol/l), respectively, for BNP1, BNP2, and BNP4. At the termination of BNP infusion, plasma BNP decreased rapidly. At 60 min after termination of the infusion, the median values were 1.3 pmol/l (0.7–4.8 pmol/l), 4.8 pmol/l (4.1–7.8 pmol/l), 10 pmol/l (6.3–13 pmol/l), and 13 pmol/l (9.8–18 pmol/l) for placebo and for the BNP1, BNP2, and BNP4 groups, respectively.
Figure 3 shows the effect of infusion of placebo and BNP on plasma cGMP. Plasma cGMP increased in a dose-dependent way during BNP infusion and was still significantly elevated at the end of the study. At the end of infusion, there was a threefold increase at the highest BNP dose. Plasma cGMP and plasma BNP did not show any relationship before infusion (ρ = 0.140,n = 48,P > 0.05), but at the end of infusion (ρ = 0.740, n = 48,P < 0.001) and at 60 min after ending the infusion (ρ = 0.488, n = 48, P < 0.001), the plasma cGMP was correlated to the plasma BNP level. Similarly, the relative increases in plasma cGMP were correlated to the relative increases in plasma BNP at the end of infusion (ρ = 0.878, n= 48, P < 0.001) and at 60 min after ending the infusion (ρ = 0.697, n = 48, P < 0.001).
Figure 4 shows the effect of infusion of placebo and BNP on urine cGMP excretion. The BNP infusions resulted in a dose-dependent increase in excretion of cGMP. At the end of infusion, there was a 3.7-fold increase for the highest BNP dose. UNaV was related to the urinary cGMP excretion in period 3 (ρ = 0.442, n = 48,P < 0.01), period 4 (ρ = 0.646, n = 48, P < 0.001), andperiod 5 (ρ = 0.644,n = 48,P < 0.001). The relative increases in the UNaV were correlated to the relative increases in the urinary cGMP excretion inperiod 3 (ρ = 0.500,n = 48,P < 0.001), period 4 (ρ = 0.703, n = 48, P < 0.001),period 5 (ρ = 0.705,n = 48,P < 0.001), andperiod 6 (ρ = 0.372,n = 48,P < 0.02).
ANP, renin, ANG II, Aldo, AVP, and plasma osmolarity. Plasma concentrations of ANP, renin, ANG II, Aldo, and AVP are given in Table 4.
ANP was unchanged at the termination of infusion, but there was a significant fall 60 min after termination of infusion with the two highest infusion doses.
The plasma concentration of renin decreased significantly for all of the BNP doses given, both at termination and 60 min after termination of infusion. There were no differences between the BNP infusion groups in the relative decreases, as shown in Fig.5.
ANG II was unaffected by infusion, and there were no differences between the groups.
Aldo decreased during infusion and in the postinfusion period for all of the groups, including the placebo group, and no significant differences were registered between the groups.
AVP was slightly but significantly increased both at termination and 60 min after termination of infusion for the two highest BNP doses.
Plasma osmolarity was unaffected by infusion, and no significant differences were seen between the groups. The median plasma osmolarity values for the different groups were 287 (range 283–293) for placebo, 288 (range 285–293) for BNP1, 288 (range 285–292) for BNP2, and 288 (range 282–292) osmol/l for BNP4.
Hematocrit. The relative changes of hematocrit are shown in Fig. 6. The hematocrit decreased in the placebo group, whereas it increased significantly during and after the BNP infusions. The highest relative increase was in the BNP4 group.
Blood pressure and heart rate. The systolic and diastolic blood pressure and the heart rate are shown in Fig. 7. For all of the groups, including the placebo group, both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure increased during the two infusion periods, but no significant differences were found between the groups. The heart rate was unchanged.
The present study brings new data concerning the effects of BNP on water and salt handling in the kidneys and on the interaction with other vasoactive hormones. Infusion of human BNP in healthy, male subjects produced an increase in the excretion of sodium and the urinary flow rate in a dose-dependent way. For the excretion of sodium, the maximal effect was reached at 2 pmol ⋅ kg−1 ⋅ min−1. BNP infusion affected renal hemodynamics by increasing GFR and decreasing RPF, the latter in a dose-dependent manner. Segmental tubular function determined by use of lithium clearance indicated that BNP infusion reduced sodium reabsorption at both proximal and distal tubular levels. ANP and renin were decreased and AVP was slightly increased by the BNP infusions. BNP infusion did not change blood pressure or heart rate.
The previously published studies on the effects of BNP infusion in healthy humans have also demonstrated natriuretic and diuretic effects of BNP (4, 5, 8, 10, 16, 17, 23, 26, 34). However, these studies are not directly comparable with the present study. First, there are differences in design, doses of BNP, and infusion time. Second, we used other methods for evaluation of the effect variables, i.e.,51Cr-EDTA clearance for GFR instead of creatinine clearance. Third, we performed a clear-cut dose-response study and obtained median plasma values of BNP at 38, 85, and 199 pmol/l for BNP1, BNP2, and BNP4, respectively. The level of BNP in plasma before BNP infusion was given is in good agreement with other reports, but the measured levels during infusion are higher for the same dose. Measurement of the level of BNP by different RIA methods could be an explanation. We have previously measured the level of BNP in different diseases (11), and the BNP levels reported in this infusion study correspond to levels seen in patients with chronic heart failure or chronic renal failure. We used the same RIA for both studies. The doses were estimated to give plasma BNP levels within the pathophysiological range rather than at pharmacological levels.
UNaV increased in a dose-dependent way during BNP infusion at the two lowest doses, but no further increment was seen at the highest dose; thus the maximal effect was reached at 2 pmol ⋅ kg−1 ⋅ min−1. At the two highest doses, the sodium excretion was increased ∼2.6- and 2.3-fold and was still significantly increased in the first postinfusion period. The fractional excretion of sodium increased in a dose-dependent way during BNP infusion for all of the BNP doses given.
The effect of BNP on different parts of the renal tubuli was based on the lithium clearance technique (31), which is believed to be the best in vivo method that can be applied in humans. Data concerning BNP effects on sodium handling in the loop of Henle are not available in humans. Thus it has to be assumed that lithium is only reabsorbed in the proximal part of the nephron. Lithium clearance increased during infusion for all of the three BNP levels given, indicating an effect on the proximal segment. Because the filtered load of sodium to the proximal tubule only increased slightly due to an increase in GFR (filtered sodium load = GFR × the concentration of sodium in plasma), because the proximal absolute reabsorption of sodium was practically unchanged, and because the proximal fractional reabsorption did not show a clear dose-dependent decrease, it is likely that the marked dose differences that we found in sodium excretion must be attributed to mechanisms located in the distal parts of the nephron. The distal absolute reabsorption of sodium increased slightly during BNP infusion, most likely due to the increased delivery. However, the distal fractional reabsorption of sodium decreased during BNP infusion in a dose-dependent way for all three BNP doses, and the decrease was also present in the first postinfusion period. The latter results indicate that BNP has its major effects on sodium handling in the distal segment of the nephron. Several previous studies have investigated the site of action of ANP, and the natriuretic peptide receptor (NPR-A) has been located in the glomeruli and the distal parts of the nephron (1, 6). A few studies have investigated the interaction of the NPR-A receptor and BNP in the human kidney (3, 29), and studies in animals have discretely found binding sites in the glomeruli and the inner medulla (7, 18, 19). After activation of the NPR-A receptor, the natriuretic response is elicited by inhibition of sodium channel function (35).
With regard to the UKV, there was an increase in the second period of infusion at the two highest doses of BNP, but this can partly be ascribed to an increase in the filtered load, since GFR increased concurrently. We do not claim any direct effect of BNP on potassium handling.
Urine volume increased in a dose-dependent way during BNP infusion but decreased rapidly in the postinfusion periods at the two highest doses to levels below placebo. These changes are ascribed to counterregulating mechanisms, and, accordingly, it was found that ANP decreased and AVP increased for these two doses. For AVP, the changes were already seen at termination of infusion, and the activation most likely was caused by a decreasing intravascular volume, as no changes were found in plasma osmolarity. ANP and BNP are probably degradated by the same mechanisms, a clearance receptor (NPR-C) and a neutral endopeptidase. The metabolism of ANP was not affected by the doses of BNP given in the present study, as ANP did not increase during infusion, when BNP was present in the highest concentrations. Actually, ANP fell, presumably due to a decrease in secretion caused by the tendency to volume depletion induced by the BNP infusion.
BNP infusion caused a significant fall in renin at all doses both at the end and 60 min after ending the infusion, but there were no differences between groups in the relative changes. Thus the maximal inhibition of renin was already present at the lowest dose. This must be a direct antagonistic effect of BNP, as sodium depletion would tend to stimulate secretion. Neither were there any significant changes in blood pressure or heart rate. Both ANG II and Aldo were unaffected, and no differences were seen between the groups. Low-dose infusion of ANP diminishes renin and Aldo secretion. The present findings might indicate different endocrine effects of BNP and ANP, but, as the interaction of the natriuretic peptides with the renin-ANG-Aldo system is very complex (10), the dissociation of the renin and Aldo response might reflect a dose-response phenomenon, but a true difference between the two peptides can not be ruled out on the data in the present study. This discrepancy might also include the blood pressure, as no pressure falls were registered.
GFR increased at the two highest doses of BNP during infusion, but the relative changes were rather small (∼5%) but significant. In the single-dose studies by Holmes et al. (8) and La Villa et al. (16), doses of 2 and 4 pmol ⋅ kg body wt−1 ⋅ min−1were given for 2 and 1 h, respectively, and they used creatinine clearance as a measurement for GFR. Holmes et al. found no effect on creatinine clearance during infusion, whereas La Villa et al. found approximately a 20% increase during infusion and a 10% increase in the postinfusion period. We used51Cr-EDTA to determine GFR. The different methods for determination of GFR and the different infusion times used might explain the discrepancies.51Cr-EDTA is a better marker for GFR than creatinine clearance.
The RPF decreased during infusion of BNP and continued to fall in the postinfusion periods at all BNP doses. As GFR was nearly unchanged or only increased slightly, the FF increased during infusion of BNP at all BNP doses and was still increased in the postinfusion periods but fell then toward the preinfusion level. We ascribe these changes in renal flow to counterregulating mechanisms caused by a decreasing intravascular volume. The decreasing intravascular volume may in part be due to the increased urine volume and in part to the increased vascular permeability, as demonstrated by the increasing hematocrit (hemoconcentration). In addition, BNP may have a direct vasodilating effect on the afferent arteriole, since the GFR could be maintained or even increased a little, concurrent with a fall in RPF up to ∼17%.
As with ANP, the effects of BNP seem to be mediated by activation of guanylate cyclase. The plasma cGMP was correlated to the plasma BNP level, and the UNaV was related to the urinary cGMP excretion.
In summary, we conclude that BNP has natriuretic and diuretic properties and an antagonistic effect on the renin-ANG system, whereas no effects on blood pressure or heart rate were demonstrated. Most likely, BNP has its major effects on sodium handling in the distal segment of the nephron.
A perspective in this field is the investigation of diseases characterized by sodium/water retention. These conditions have elevated plasma levels of the natriuretic peptides, and at the same time a neuroendocrine acticvation is seen, including hormones of the renin-ANG-Aldo system and AVP. The chronic elevation of the natriuretic peptides possibly has led to a receptor downregulation, as the new balance between the natriuretic peptides and the sodium-retaining hormones is in favor of sodium retention. Further investigations are needed in healthy subjects and in patients with different sodium/water-retaining conditions to determine the role of the natriuretic peptides, but, most likely, the natriuretic peptides participate actively in the regulation of sodium and water in healthy subjects as well as in diseased states.
We thank laboratory technicians Lisbeth Mikkelsen, Rikke Andersen, Elsebeth Fibiger, Dorte Roende Jensen, Jane Hagelskjaer Knudsen, Gitte Paulsen, and Kirsten Toender for skillful work during all of the examinations of the subjects and for performing all of the analysis with great accuracy and precision.
Address for reprint requests: K. Jensen, Research Laboratory of Nephrology and Hypertension, Aarhus Univ. Hospital, Aarhus Amtssygehus, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.
This study was supported by grants from the Danish Medical Research Council, Arvid Nilssons Fond, Aarhus University, the Danish Research Academy, and Meda.
- Copyright © 1998 the American Physiological Society