Since mammalian atria were recently found to contain vasoactive and natriuretic peptides, we investigated the following in normal humans: plasma human atrial natriuretic peptide concentrations, effective renal plasma flow (ERPF), glomerular filtration rate (GFR), urinary water and electrolyte excretion, blood pressure (BP), and catecholamine, antidiuretic hormone (ADH), angiotensin II, and aldosterone levels before, during, and after intravenous administration of the newly synthetized alpha-human atrial natriuretic peptide (alpha hANP). In 10 subjects alpha hANP given as an initial bolus of 50 micrograms followed by a 45-min maintenance infusion at 6.25 micrograms/min increased plasma alpha hANP from 58 +/- 12 to 625 +/- 87 (mean +/- SEM) pg/ml; caused an acute fall in diastolic BP (-12%, P less than 0.001) and a hemoconcentration (hematocrit +7%, P less than 0.01) not fully explained by a negative body fluid balance; increased GFR (+15%, P less than 0.05) despite unchanged or decreased ERPF (filtration fraction +37%, P less than 0.001); augmented (P less than 0.05- less than 0.001) urinary chloride (+317%), sodium (+224%), calcium (+158%), magnesium (+110%), phosphate excretion (+88%), and free water clearance (from -0.76 to +2.23 ml/min, P less than 0.001) with only little change in potassium excretion; and increased plasma norepinephrine (P less than 0.001) while plasma and urinary epinephrine and dopamine, and plasma ADH, angiotensin II, and aldosterone levels were unchanged. The magnitude and pattern of electrolyte and water excretion during alpha hANP infusion could not be accounted for by increased GFR alone. Therefore, in normal man, endogenous alpha hANP seems to circulate in blood. alpha hANP can cause a BP reduction and hemoconcentration which occur, at least in part, independently of diuresis and are accompanied by sympathetic activation. An increase in GFR that occurs in the presence of unchanged or even decreased total renal blood flow is an important but not sole mechanism of natriuresis and diuresis induced by alpha hANP in man.
P Weidmann, L Hasler, M P Gnädinger, R E Lang, D E Uehlinger, S Shaw, W Rascher, F C Reubi