Edvinsson, Marie-Louise2; Uddman, Erik2; Edvinsson, Lars3; Andersson, Sven E2
1 Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 unknown3 Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
BACKGROUND: Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) is normally present in low levels in the circulation, but it is elevated in parallel with the degree of congestion in heart failure subjects (CHF). BNP has natriuretic effects and is a potent vasodilator. It is suggested that BNP could be a therapeutic alternative in CHF. However, we postulated that the high levels of circulating BNP in CHF may downregulate the response of microvascular natriuretic receptors. This was tested by comparing 15 CHF patients (BNP > 3000 ng/L) with 10 matched, healthy controls. METHODS: Cutaneous microvascular blood flow in the forearm was measured by laser Doppler Flowmetry. Local heating (+44°C, 10 min) was used to evoke a maximum local dilator response. RESULTS: Non-invasive iontophoretic administration of either BNP or acetylcholine (ACh), a known endothelium-dependent dilator, elicited an increase in local flow. The nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, l-N-Arginine- methyl-ester (L-NAME), blocked the BNP response (in controls). Interestingly, responses to BNP in CHF patients were reduced to about one third of those seen in healthy controls (increase in flow: 251% in CHF vs. 908% in controls; P < 0.001). In contrast, the vasodilator responses to ACh and to local heating were only somewhat attenuated in CHF patients. Thus, dilator capacity and nitric oxide signalling were not affected to the same extent as BNP-mediated dilation, indicating a specific downregulation of the latter response. CONCLUSIONS: The findings show for the first time that microvascular responses to BNP are markedly reduced in CHF patients. This is consistent with the hypothesis of BNP receptor function is downregulated in CHF.
Journal of Geriatric Cardiology : Jgc, 2014, Vol 11, Issue 1, p. 50-56