Ventricular natriuretic peptide or brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), also known as B-type natriuretic peptide, is a hormone secreted by cardiomyocytes in the heart ventricles in response to stretching caused by increased ventricular blood volume.
The 32-amino acid polypeptide BNP is secreted attached to a 76–amino acid N-terminal fragment in the prohormone called NT-proBNP (BNPT), which is biologically inactive. Once released, BNP binds to and activates the atrial natriuretic factor receptor NPRA, and to a lesser extent NPRB, in a fashion similar to atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) but with 10-fold lower affinity. The biological half-life of BNP, however, is twice as long as that of ANP, and that of NT-proBNP is even longer, making these peptides better targets than ANP for diagnostic blood testing.
The physiologic actions of BNP are similar to those of ANP and include decrease in systemic vascular resistance and central venous pressure as well as an increase in natriuresis. The net effect of these peptides is a decrease in blood pressure due to the decrease in systemic vascular resistance and, thus, afterload. Additionally, the actions of both BNP and ANP result in a decrease in cardiac output due to an overall decrease in central venous pressure and preload as a result of the reduction in blood volume that follows natriuresis and diuresis.
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