Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) binding sites have been demonstrated in the guinea-pig gallbladder muscle with unclear function. To investigate effects of natriuretic peptides in the gallbladder, we measured relaxation of isolated human and guinea-pig gallbladder strips caused by natriuretic peptides, including C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP), brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and ANP, as well as des[Gln18, Ser19, Gly20, Leu21, Gly22]ANP(4-23) amide (cANP(4-23)), a selective natriuretic peptide receptor-C (NPR-C) agonist. Results in the human gallbladder were similar to those in the guinea-pig gallbladder. CNP, BNP, ANP and cANP(4-23) alone did not cause contraction or relaxation in resting gallbladder strips. However, in carbachol or endothelin-1-contracted strips, CNP caused moderate, sustained and concentration-dependent relaxation. The relaxation was not affected by tetrodotoxin or atropine in endothelin-1-contracted gallbladder strips and not by tetrodotoxin in carbachol-contracted strips. These indicate a direct effect of CNP on the gallbladder muscle. The relative potencies for natriuretic peptides to cause relaxation were CNP>>BNP≥ANP. cANP(4-23) did not cause relaxation. These indicate the existence of the natriuretic peptide receptor-B (NPR-B) mediating the relaxation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that natriuretic peptides cause relaxation of human and guinea-pig gallbladder muscle through interaction with the natriuretic peptide receptor-B.
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