Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) specifically stimulates particulate guanylate cyclase, and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) has been recognized as its second messenger.Spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) have elevated plasma ANP levels, but manifest an exaggerated natriuretic and diuretic response to exogenous ANP when compared to normotensive strains. In isolated glomeruli, the maximal cGMP response to ANP corresponds to a 12- to 14-fold increase over basal levels in normotensive strains (Wistar 13+/-2; Wistar-Kyoto 12+/-2; Sprague-Dawley 14+/-2) while a maximal 33+/-3-fold elevation occurs in SHR (P < 0.001). This hyperresponsiveness of cGMP is reproducible in intact glomeruli from SHR from various commercial sources. Furthermore, this abnormality develops early in life, even before hypertension is clearly established, and persists despite pharmacological modulation of blood pressure, indicating that it is a primary event in hypertension.
In vitro studies have revealed a higher particulate guanylate cyclase activity in membranes from glomeruli and other tissues from SHR.This increase is not accounted for by different patterns of ANP binding to its receptor subtypes between normotensive and hypertensive strains, as assessed by competitive displacement with C-ANP102-121, an analog which selectively binds to one ANP receptor subtype. The hyperactivity of particulate guanylate cyclase in SHR and its behavior under basal, ligand (ANP), and detergent-enhanced conditions could be attributed either to increased expression or augmented sensitivity of the enzyme. Radiation-inactivation analysis does not evoke a disturbance in the size of regulatory elements normally repressing enzymatic activity, while the expression of particulate guanylate cyclase gene using mutated standard of A- and B-receptors partial cDNAs, quantified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) transcript titration assay, manifests a selective increase of one guanylate cyclase subtype. Our data suggest that in hypertension, genetic overexpression of the ANP A-receptor subtype is related to the exaggerated biological response to ANP in this disease. (J. Clin. Invest. 1993. 92:2499-2508.) Key words: Glomeruli. atrial natriuretic peptide. guanylate cyclase. spontaneously hypertensive rats. cyclic guanosine monophosphate. quantitative polymerase chain reaction