The atria (see ATRIUM) of the heart contain peptides with potent diuretic and vasodilating properties. It has been known since 1980 that extracts of human atria have potent diuretic and natriuretic eﬀects in animals (see DIURETICS). In 1984 three polypeptide species were isolated from human atria and were called alpha, beta and gamma human atrial natriuretic peptides. Plasma concentration of immunoreactive atrial natriuretic peptide can now be measured: the levels are low in healthy subjects and are increased in patients with congestive heart failure. Infusion of the peptides reduces blood pressure and causes a natriuresis and diuresis.
Article Categories:Medical Dictionary