Secretion of atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) in vivo is thought to be mediated by atrial distension. We have shown previously that nonstretched atria can release natriuretic activity in vitro when stimulated by certain agonists. In the present study atrial appendages from freshly excised rat hearts were incubated at 37 degrees C for up to 1 h in the presence of either vasopressin (5 X 10(-9) mol/l) or angiotensin II (2.5 X 10(-7) mol/l). Aliquots of postincubation media were injected intravenously into anesthetized bioassay rats to determine natriuretic activity. Control media, in which atria had been incubated without agonist, did not cause natriuresis. Significant increases in sodium excretion were seen after injection of media in which atria had been incubated in the presence of either agonist. Injection of medium with the same agonist concentration did not result in comparable natriuresis. Radioimmunoassay (RIA) indicated a high concentration of immunoactive ANF in the natriuretic media. However, radioreceptor assay (RRA) of the same media gave apparent ANF concentrations that were lower by about three orders of magnitude. Because the antibody used in the RIA cross reacts with ANF prohormone, whereas the RRA is sensitive only to the active form, we concluded that agonist-induced, stretch-independent release of ANF is in the form of prohormone, which can be converted to the active hormone in the circulation of the bioassay animal. The conclusion of prohormone release was confirmed by liquid chromatography. The data thus suggest that receptor-mediated as well as stretch-induced ANF secretion may be important in regulating the activity of the ANF system.
- Copyright © 1988 the American Physiological Society