Atrial natriuretic factor

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Atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), or atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), is a peptide hormone involved in the homeostatic control of body water and sodium.



ANF is a 28 amino acid peptide with a 17 AA ring, and is closely related to BNP (Brain Natriuretic Peptide, but found mainly in the heart) and CNP (C-type Natriuretic Peptide) which all share the same amino acid ring. ANF was discovered in 1981 by a team in Ottawa led by Mercedes Kuroski de Bold after they made the seminal observation that injection of atrial (but not ventricular) tissue extracts into rats caused copious natriuresis.

ANF is released by walls of the cardiac atrium in response to high sodium concentration, high extracellular fluid volume, or high blood volume. It then acts via various mechanisms to excrete Na, and to cause vasodilation in the circulatory system. Notably, it is secreted in response to immersion of the body in water, which causes an atrial stretch due to altered distribution of intravascular fluid. It has been shown that in horses, it is also released in response to exercise.

Physiological Effects


  • Dilates the afferent glomerular arteriole, constricts the efferent glomerular arteriole, and relaxes the mesangial cells. This increases the glomerular filtration rate, resulting in greater excretion of Na+ and water.
  • Inhibits renin secretion.


  • Relaxes vascular smooth muscle in arterioles and venules and opposes the pressor effects of catecholamines and Angiotensin-II


There are three distinct receptors identified so far in mammals, natriuretic peptide receptors A, B and C (NPRA, NPRB and NPRC).

NPRA and NPRB are linked to guanylyl cyclases, while NPRAC is G-protein linked and furthermore is a "clearance receptor" which acts to internalise and destroy the ligand.

Other Natriuretic factors

In addition to the mammalian natriuretic factors (ANP, BNP, CNP), two other peptides have been isolated. Tervonen (1998) described a salmon natriuretic factor (Salmon cardiac peptide) with a similar structure and properties and Dendroaspis Natriuretic Peptide (DNP) was discovered in the venom of the green mamba by Schweitz et al. (1992).

External Links

Modulation of the natriuretic peptide system in heart failure: from bench to bedside? Schmitt, Cockcroft and Frennaux  (

Plasma ANP in the horse and goat, Kokkonen, 2002  (


De Bold AJ 1985 Atrial natriuretic factor: a hormone produced by the heart. Science 230:767770

Tervonen et al., 1998 Endocrinology 139:4021-4025

Kokkonen et al., 2000 Am J Physiol 278: E285-E292de:Atriales natriuretisches Peptid pl:Przedsionkowy peptyd natriuretyczny


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