The Role of B-Type and Other Natriuretic Peptides in Health and Disease
Ashok Krishnaswami, MD, FACC
Fall 2008 - Volume 12 Number 4
Natriuretic peptide (NP) physiology is a complex field. NPs also are known to be highly phylogenetically preserved. NPs can be thought of as counterregulatory hormones antagonizing the effects of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone and sympathetic systems. These peptides are primarily responsible for maintaining salt and water homeostasis, but they also have vasodilatory properties. It was originally thought that B-type NP (BNP) and N-terminal-pro-BNP are secreted in a 1:1 ratio. However, recent data has shed further light into this area. Commercial assays for NPs will need to keep up with these changes. Currently, BNP levels within Kaiser Permanente are obtained by multiple providers in a variety of clinical scenarios in order to help them manage their patients. Therefore, a basic understanding of the physiology of NPs and the methodology of assays are needed to appropriately interpret an NP test result within the corresponding clinical scenario.