Atrial natriuretic factor: a hormone produced by the heart

Science  15 Nov 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4727, pp. 767-770
DOI: 10.1126/science.2932797


Systematic studies on the significance of the secretory-like morphological characteristic of cardiac atrial muscle cells of mammals led to the finding that these cells produce a polypeptide hormone. This hormone, described in 1981 as atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), is diuretic (natriuretic), hypotensive, and has an inhibitory effect on renin and aldosterone secretion. Thus, ANF probably intervenes in the short- and long-term control of water and electrolyte balance and of blood pressure. Phylogenetically, ANF appears early, suggesting different functions for this peptide in accordance with each species' environment. Knowledge of the properties of the hormone should provide insights into the pathophysiology of important clinical entities and lead to the development of new pharmaceutical products.

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