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      The heart as an endocrine organ

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      Endocrine Connections

      Bioscientifica Ltd

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          Abstract

          The concept of the heart as an endocrine organ arises from the observation that the atrial cardiomyocytes in the mammalian heart display a phenotype that is partly that of endocrine cells. Investigations carried out between 1971 and 1983 characterised, by virtue of its natriuretic properties, a polypeptide referred to atrial natriuretic factor (ANF). Another polypeptide isolated from brain in 1988, brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), was subsequently characterised as a second hormone produced by the mammalian heart atria. These peptides were associated with the maintenance of extracellular fluid volume and blood pressure. Later work demonstrated a plethora of other properties for ANF and BNP, now designated cardiac natriuretic peptides (cNPs). In addition to the cNPs, other polypeptide hormones are expressed in the heart that likely act upon the myocardium in a paracrine or autocrine fashion. These include the C-type natriuretic peptide, adrenomedullin, proadrenomedullin N-terminal peptide and endothelin-1. Expression and secretion of ANF and BNP are increased in various cardiovascular pathologies and their levels in blood are used in the diagnosis and prognosis of cardiovascular disease. In addition, therapeutic uses for these peptides or related substances have been found. In all, the discovery of the endocrine heart provided a shift from the classical functional paradigm of the heart that regarded this organ solely as a blood pump to one that regards this organ as self-regulating its workload humorally and that also influences the function of several other organs that control cardiovascular function.

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          Most cited references 178

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          Rapid measurement of B-type natriuretic peptide in the emergency diagnosis of heart failure.

          B-type natriuretic peptide is released from the cardiac ventricles in response to increased wall tension. We conducted a prospective study of 1586 patients who came to the emergency department with acute dyspnea and whose B-type natriuretic peptide was measured with a bedside assay. The clinical diagnosis of congestive heart failure was adjudicated by two independent cardiologists, who were blinded to the results of the B-type natriuretic peptide assay. The final diagnosis was dyspnea due to congestive heart failure in 744 patients (47 percent), dyspnea due to noncardiac causes in 72 patients with a history of left ventricular dysfunction (5 percent), and no finding of congestive heart failure in 770 patients (49 percent). B-type natriuretic peptide levels by themselves were more accurate than any historical or physical findings or laboratory values in identifying congestive heart failure as the cause of dyspnea. The diagnostic accuracy of B-type natriuretic peptide at a cutoff of 100 pg per milliliter was 83.4 percent. The negative predictive value of B-type natriuretic peptide at levels of less than 50 pg per milliliter was 96 percent. In multiple logistic-regression analysis, measurements of B-type natriuretic peptide added significant independent predictive power to other clinical variables in models predicting which patients had congestive heart failure. Used in conjunction with other clinical information, rapid measurement of B-type natriuretic peptide is useful in establishing or excluding the diagnosis of congestive heart failure in patients with acute dyspnea. Copyright 2002 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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            Effect of nesiritide in patients with acute decompensated heart failure.

            Nesiritide is approved in the United States for early relief of dyspnea in patients with acute heart failure. Previous meta-analyses have raised questions regarding renal toxicity and the mortality associated with this agent. We randomly assigned 7141 patients who were hospitalized with acute heart failure to receive either nesiritide or placebo for 24 to 168 hours in addition to standard care. Coprimary end points were the change in dyspnea at 6 and 24 hours, as measured on a 7-point Likert scale, and the composite end point of rehospitalization for heart failure or death within 30 days. Patients randomly assigned to nesiritide, as compared with those assigned to placebo, more frequently reported markedly or moderately improved dyspnea at 6 hours (44.5% vs. 42.1%, P=0.03) and 24 hours (68.2% vs. 66.1%, P=0.007), but the prespecified level for significance (P≤0.005 for both assessments or P≤0.0025 for either) was not met. The rate of rehospitalization for heart failure or death from any cause within 30 days was 9.4% in the nesiritide group versus 10.1% in the placebo group (absolute difference, -0.7 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.1 to 0.7; P=0.31). There were no significant differences in rates of death from any cause at 30 days (3.6% with nesiritide vs. 4.0% with placebo; absolute difference, -0.4 percentage points; 95% CI, -1.3 to 0.5) or rates of worsening renal function, defined by more than a 25% decrease in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (31.4% vs. 29.5%; odds ratio, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.98 to 1.21; P=0.11). Nesiritide was not associated with an increase or a decrease in the rate of death and rehospitalization and had a small, nonsignificant effect on dyspnea when used in combination with other therapies. It was not associated with a worsening of renal function, but it was associated with an increase in rates of hypotension. On the basis of these results, nesiritide cannot be recommended for routine use in the broad population of patients with acute heart failure. (Funded by Scios; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00475852.).
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              Expression of endothelin-1 in the lungs of patients with pulmonary hypertension.

              Pulmonary hypertension is characterized by an increase in vascular tone or an abnormal proliferation of muscle cells in the walls of small pulmonary arteries. Endothelin-1 is a potent endothelium-derived vasoconstrictor peptide with important mitogenic properties. It has therefore been suggested that endothelin-1 may contribute to increases in pulmonary arterial tone or smooth-muscle proliferation in patients with pulmonary hypertension. We studied the sites and magnitude of endothelin-1 production in the lungs of patients with various causes of pulmonary hypertension. We studied the distribution of endothelin-1-like immunoreactivity (by immunocytochemical analysis) and endothelin-1 messenger RNA (by in situ hybridization) in lung specimens from 15 control subjects, 11 patients with plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy (grades 4 through 6), and 17 patients with secondary pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary arteriopathy of grades 1 through 3. In the controls, endothelin-1-like immunoreactivity was rarely seen in vascular endothelial cells. In the patients with pulmonary hypertension, endothelin-1-like immunoreactivity was abundant, predominantly in endothelial cells of pulmonary arteries with medial thickening and intimal fibrosis. Likewise, endothelin-1 messenger RNA was increased in the patients with pulmonary hypertension and was expressed primarily at sites of endothelin-1-like immunoreactivity. There was a strong correlation between the intensity of endothelin-1-like immunoreactivity and pulmonary vascular resistance in the patients with plexogenic pulmonary arteriopathy, but not in those with secondary pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is associated with the increased expression of endothelin-1 in vascular endothelial cells, suggesting that the local production of endothelin-1 may contribute to the vascular abnormalities associated with this disorder.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Endocr Connect
                Endocr Connect
                EC
                Endocrine Connections
                Bioscientifica Ltd (Bristol )
                2049-3614
                15 April 2014
                01 June 2014
                : 3
                : 2
                : R31-R44
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Cardiovascular Endocrinology Laboratory University of Ottawa Heart Institute 40 Ruskin Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 4W7Canada
                Author notes
                Correspondence should be addressed to A J de Bold Email: adebold@ 123456ottawaheart.ca
                Article
                EC140012
                10.1530/EC-14-0012
                3987289
                24562677
                © 2014 The authors

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

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