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Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) causes vasodilatation but the mechanisms by which this is accomplished are not fully known. The aim of the present study was to determine whether, besides K+Ca2+-channels, nitric oxide (NO) is involved in BNP-induced vasodilatation.We studied 10 healthy males twice, in random order, at an interval of 2 weeks. Experiments always started with infusion of BNP (8–16–32–64 pmol/dl per min) into the brachial artery. On the first day this infusion was followed by a second BNP infusion combined with the K+Ca2+-channel-blocker, tetraethylammonium (TEA, 0.1 mg/dl per min), and on the other day by BNP infusion combined with the NO-synthase inhibitor, l-NG-monomethyl arginine (l-NMMA, 0.8 μmol/dl per min). The latter was then followed by a combined infusion of BNP, l-NMMA and TEA. All infusions were separated by a 1 h washout period. Forearm blood flow (FBF) was determined by venous occlusion plethysmography.Mean arterial pressure and heart rate did not change during any of the experiments. BNP alone induced a dose-dependent dilatation, which was similar on both days. TEA, l-NMMA, and their combination all reduced the BNP-induced dilatation (P< 0.05). The combined infusion had a significantly greater effect than TEA alone (P = 0.005). BNP infusions were associated with a significant increase in plasma cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) and C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) (P< 0.05).BNP induces arterial vasodilatation not only by opening K+Ca2+-channels, but also via stimulation of NO production. In addition, BNP stimulates net CNP increase.