Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide, a therapeutic synthetic natriuretic peptide

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The natriuretic peptides are considered to be cardioprotective; however, their receptors have not been identified in human myocardium using radiolabeled analogs. Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide (DNP) has been recently identified as a new member of this peptide family and is thought to be less susceptible to enzymatic degradation. Therefore, we have developed the novel radiolabeled analog [125I]-DNP and used this to localize high-affinity (K(D)=0.2 nmol/L), saturable, specific binding sites in adult human heart (n=6) and coronary artery (n=8). In competition binding experiments, atrial natriuretic peptide and brain type natriuretic peptide had greater affinity for [125I]-DNP binding sites than C-type natriuretic peptide and the natriuretic peptide receptor (NPR)-C ligand, cANF. This rank order of potency suggested binding of [125I]-DNP was specific to NPR-A. Messenger RNA encoding NPR-A was identified in left ventricle and coronary artery smooth muscle, and expression was confirmed by immunocytochemical studies at the protein level. In addition, fluorescence dual labeling immunocytochemistry localized NPR-A protein to cardiomyocytes, endocardial endothelial cells, and smooth muscle of intramyocardial vessels. Importantly, we demonstrated a significant downregulation in the density of NPR-A in heart and coronary artery of patients with ischemic heart disease that may explain, in part, the attenuated natriuretic peptide response reported in this patient group.

Singh G, Kuc RE, Maguire JJ, Fidock M, Davenport AP. Novel snake venom ligand dendroaspis natriuretic peptide is selective for natriuretic peptide receptor-A in human heart: downregulation of natriuretic peptide receptor-A in heart failure. Circ Res. 2006;99(2):183-90.

Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide (DNP) is a recently described peptide produced by Dendroaspis angusticeps with structural and functional similarities to mammalian natriuretic peptides. These similarities suggest a potential role for DNP in cardiovascular therapeutics. To determine the physiological effects of chronic delivery of DNP, a gene transfer approach using first generation adenoviral vectors was utilized. Although the gene for DNP has not been cloned in any species, the peptide sequence in the snake is known. Preferred mammalian codons for snake DNP were cloned downstream of either the leader sequence (referred to as pBDNP-1) or prepropeptide sequence of human brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) cDNA (referred to as pBDNP-2). Transfections with pBDNP-1 or pBDNP-2 resulted in expected forms of chimeric DNP (cDNP) in cell lysates and conditioned media. Functional studies demonstrated the ability of both forms of cDNP within conditioned media to stimulate cGMP production in human vascular smooth muscle cells (hVSMC). Expressed cDNP inhibited hVSMC proliferation and stimulated vasorelaxation in a similar fashion. To investigate the chronic physiological effects of administration of cDNP, an adenoviral vector expressing cDNP (Ad-BDNP) was generated. Intravenous delivery of Ad-BDNP in mice resulted in dose-dependent systemic expression of cDNP. The highest level of expression was associated with consistent elevation of its presumed second messenger (cGMP) for 21 days but with transient lowering of systolic blood pressure in normotensive mice. This study demonstrates the biological features of the expression of the xenogenic peptide DNP.

Pan S, Gulati R, Mueske CS, et al. Gene transfer of a novel vasoactive natriuretic peptide stimulates cGMP and lowers blood pressure in mice. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2004;286(6):H2213-8.

OBJECTIVE: Hypovolemia after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) may be mediated by natriuretic peptides and can further impair cerebral perfusion in dysautoregulated and vasospastic arterial territories. Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide (DNP), derived from the venom of Dendroaspis augusticeps, the Green Mamba snake, has recently been discovered in human plasma and atrial myocardium. There is no information regarding the presence or putative role of this peptide in patients with aneurysmal SAH.
METHODS: A sensitive and specific DNP radioimmunoassay was performed on venous blood samples obtained on post-SAH Days 1, 3, and 7 from 10 consecutive SAH patients (cases) and randomly from 9 healthy volunteers (controls). Clinical and laboratory data, including daily serum sodium concentration and fluid balance, were collected prospectively up to 7 days after the ictus.
RESULTS: Increase in plasma DNP levels occurred in five (63%) of eight patients who had DNP levels measured on Days 1 and 3 (mean increase, 29%). An increase in DNP level was significantly associated with development of a negative fluid balance (P = 0.003) and hyponatremia (P = 0.008). Three (75%) of the four patients who developed cerebral vasospasm during this study experienced an increase in DNP levels from Days 1 to 3.
CONCLUSION: The present study is the first to find a significant association between elevated levels of DNP, a new member of the natriuretic peptide family, and the development of diuresis and natriuresis in patients with aneurysmal SAH. Our findings warrant further investigation by means of a large-scale, prospective, case-control study.

Khurana VG, Wijdicks EF, Heublein DM, et al. A pilot study of dendroaspis natriuretic peptide in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Neurosurgery. 2004;55(1):69-75.

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of the current study were to define for the first time the roles of the natriuretic peptide (NP) receptors and neutral endopeptidase (NEP) in mediating and modulating the renal actions of Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide (DNP), a new therapeutic synthetic NP.
BACKGROUND: Recent reports have advanced the therapeutic potential of a newly described synthetic NP called DNP. Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide is a 38-amino acid peptide recently isolated from the venom of Dendroaspis augusticeps (the green mamba snake).
METHODS: Synthetic DNP was administered intra-renally at 5 ng/kg/min to 11 normal anesthetized dogs, 5 of which received the NP receptor antagonist HS-142-1 (3 mg/kg intravenous bolus) while the remaining 6 dogs received an infusion of the NEP inhibitor, candoxatrilat (8 and 80 microg/kg/min) (Pfizer, Sandwich United Kingdom).
RESULTS: Intra-renal DNP resulted in marked natriuresis associated with increased urinary cyclic guanosine monophosphate excretion (UcGMPV), glomerular filtration rate (GFR), and renal blood flow (RBF) and decreased distal fractional sodium reabsorption (FNaR) compared with baseline. HS-142-1 attenuated the natriuretic response to DNP, resulting in decreased UcGMPV, GFR, and RBF and increased distal FNaR. In contrast, low and high doses of NEP inhibitor did not potentiate the renal actions of DNP.
CONCLUSIONS: We report that the NP receptor blockade attenuated the renal actions of synthetic DNP and that the NEP inhibitor did not alter the renal response to DNP. This latter finding is a unique property of synthetic DNP, as distinguished from other known NPs, supporting its potential as a therapeutic agent.

Chen HH, Lainchbury JG, Burnett JC. Natriuretic peptide receptors and neutral endopeptidase in mediating the renal actions of a new therapeutic synthetic natriuretic peptide dendroaspis natriuretic peptide. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002;40(6):1186-91.

BACKGROUND: Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide (DNP) is the newest member of the natriuretic peptide family and is a circulating peptide in humans. The effects of DNP on the human vasculature are unknown. Since other natriuretic peptides are known to cause vasorelaxation, we determined the response to DNP on human blood vessels in vitro. We also investigated the mechanism of DNP mediated vasorelaxation.
METHODS: Rings of human internal mammary artery and saphenous vein were suspended in an organ bath. The response to cumulative concentrations of DNP was obtained. Inhibiting agents were used to determine the mechanism of this vasorelaxation.
RESULTS: DNP caused dose-dependent relaxation, with a greater effect on the internal mammary arteries (relaxation from 10(-7) mol/l DNP: 80.6+/-4.1%) than the saphenous veins (33.4+/-4.1%). At 10(-7) mol/l, DNP resulted in less arterial relaxation compared with atrial and C-type natriuretic peptides and similar relaxation to brain natriuretic peptide. In veins, DNP caused the greatest relaxation of the natriuretic peptides. DNP increased tissue cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) determined by radioimmunoassay by over 7-fold. Barium chloride and indomethacin attenuated DNP mediated vasorelaxation. However, glibenclamide, charydotoxin, apamin, tetraethyl-ammonium chloride and diisothiocyanato-stilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid did not. DNP mediated vasorelaxation was mildly attenuated with removal of the endothelium. DNP immunoreactivity was identified in both arteries and veins.
CONCLUSIONS: The current study demonstrates that DNP is an endogenous human natriuretic peptide that relaxes human arteries more than veins. Furthermore, DNP mediated vasorelaxation involves the inward rectifying potassium channels, prostaglandins, and cGMP. This newest member of the natriuretic peptide family may have an important physiologic role in the human vasculature.

Best PJ, Burnett JC, Wilson SH, Holmes DR, Lerman A. Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide relaxes isolated human arteries and veins. Cardiovasc Res. 2002;55(2):375-84.

Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide (DNP), a recently discovered peptide, shares structural similarity to the other known natriuretic peptides, ANP, BNP, and CNP. Studies have reported that DNP is present in human and canine plasma and atrial myocardium and increased in plasma of humans with congestive heart failure (CHF). In addition, synthetic DNP is markedly natriuretic and diuretic and is a potent activator of cGMP in normal animals. To date, the ability of synthetic DNP to improve cardiorenal function in experimental CHF is unknown. Synthetic DNP was administered intravenously at 10 and 50 ng. kg(-1). min(-1) in dogs (n=7) with severe CHF induced by rapid ventricular pacing for 10 days at 245 bpm. In addition, we determined endogenous DNP in normal (n=4) and failing (n=4) canine atrial and ventricular myocardium. We report that administration of synthetic DNP in experimental severe CHF has beneficial cardiovascular, renal, and humoral properties. First, DNP in CHF decreased cardiac filling pressures, specifically right atrial pressure and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure. Second, DNP increased glomerular filtration rate in association with natriuresis and diuresis despite a reduction in mean arterial pressure. Third, DNP increased plasma and urinary cGMP and suppressed plasma renin activity. Fourth and finally, we report that DNP immunoreactivity is present in canine atrial and ventricular myocardium and increased in CHF. These studies report the acute intravenous actions of synthetic DNP in experimental severe CHF and suggest that on the basis of its beneficial properties, DNP may have potential as a new intravenous agent for the treatment of decompensated CHF.

Lisy O, Lainchbury JG, Leskinen H, Burnett JC. Therapeutic actions of a new synthetic vasoactive and natriuretic peptide, dendroaspis natriuretic peptide, in experimental severe congestive heart failure. Hypertension. 2001;37(4):1089-94.

BACKGROUND: Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide (DNP), recently isolated from the venom of the green Mamba snake Dendroaspis angusticeps, is a 38 amino acid peptide containing a 17 amino acid disulfide ring structure similar to that of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), and C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP). DNP-like immunoreactivity (DNP-LI) was reported to be present in human plasma and atrial myocardium and to be elevated in human congestive heart failure. Although previously named DNP, it remains unknown if DNP is natriuretic or if is it present in canine plasma, urine, and atrial myocardium.
METHOD: Studies were performed in vivo in anesthetized dogs (N = 6) using intravenous infusion of synthetic DNP at 10 and 50 ng/kg/min. Employing a sensitive and specific radioimmunoassay for DNP, the presence of DNP-like peptide was assessed in the canine plasma and urine before, during, and following the administration of exogenous synthetic DNP. Additionally, we performed immunohistochemical studies using the indirect immunoperoxidase method with polyclonal DNP antiserum in normal atrial myocardium (N = 10). Atrial concentrations of DNP-LI were also assessed.
RESULTS: We report that DNP is markedly natriuretic and diuretic, which, like ANP and BNP, is associated with the increase in urinary and plasma cGMP. DNP-like peptide is also detected in canine plasma, urine, and atrial myocardium.
CONCLUSION: These studies establish that DNP is a potent natriuretic and diuretic peptide with tubular actions linked to cGMP and that DNP may play a physiological role in the regulation of sodium excretion.

Lisy O, Jougasaki M, Heublein DM, et al. Renal actions of synthetic dendroaspis natriuretic peptide. Kidney Int. 1999;56(2):502-8.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide (DNP), a novel peptide isolated from the venom of the Dendroaspis angusticeps snake that contains a 17-amino acid disulfide ring structure similar to that in atrial, brain, and C-type natriuretic peptides, is present in normal human plasma and myocardium and whether, like the other natriuretic peptides, DNP-like immunoreactivity (DNP-LI) is activated in human congestive heart failure (CHF). MATERIAL AND METHODS: Circulating DNP-LI was assessed in 19 normal human subjects and 19 patients with CHF (New York Heart Association class III or IV) with a specific and sensitive radioimmunoassay for DNP with no cross-reactivity with the other natriuretic peptides. Immunohistochemical studies that used polyclonal rabbit anti-DNP antiserum were performed on human atrial myocardial tissue obtained from four patients with end-stage CHF who were undergoing cardiac transplantation and from three donor hearts at the time of transplantation.
RESULTS: We report that DNP-LI circulates in normal human plasma and is present in the normal atrial myocardium. In addition, DNP-LI is increased in the plasma of patients with CHF. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates, for the first time, the presence of a DNP-like peptide in normal human plasma and in the atrial myocardium. Additionally, these studies demonstrate increased plasma DNP-LI in human CHF. These results support the possible existence of an additional new natriuretic peptide in humans, which may have a role in the neurohumoral activation that characterizes human CHF.

Schirger JA, Heublein DM, Chen HH, et al. Presence of Dendroaspis natriuretic peptide-like immunoreactivity in human plasma and its increase during human heart failure. Mayo Clin Proc. 1999;74(2):126-30.

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