The role of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) in regulating fetal cardiac growth is poorly understood. Angiotensin II (Ang II) stimulates proliferation in fetal sheep cardiomyocytes when growth is dependent on the activity of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphoinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) pathways. We hypothesized that ANP would suppress near-term fetal cardiomyocyte proliferation in vitro and inhibit both the MAPK and PI3K pathways. Forty-eight hour 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) uptake (used as an index of proliferation) was measured in cardiomyocytes isolated from fetal sheep (135 day gestational age) in response to 100 nmAng IIwith orwithoutANP(0.003-100 nm) or 1 μm8-bromo-cGMP. The effects of these compounds on the MAPK and PI3K pathways were assessed by measuring extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and AKT phosphorylation following 10 min of treatment with Ang II, ANP or 8-bromo-cGMP. In right ventricular myocytes (RV), the lowest dose of ANP (0.003 nm) inhibited Ang II-stimulated BrdU uptake by 68%. Similarly, 8-bromo-cGMP suppressed Ang II-stimulated proliferation by 62%. The same effects were observed in left ventricular (LV) cardiomyoytes but the RV was more sensitive to the inhibitory effects of ANP than the LV (P < 0.0001). Intracellular cGMP was increased by 4-fold in the presence of 100 nm ANP. Ang II-stimulated ERK and Akt phosphorylation was inhibited by 100 nm ANP. The activity of ANP may in part be cGMP dependent, as 8-bromo-cGMP had similar effects on the cardiomyocytes.
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