Gerbes, Alexander L. and Arendt, Rainer M. and Paumgartner, Gustav
Atrial natriuretic factor. Possible implications in liver disease.
In: Journal of Hepatology, Vol. 5, No. 1: pp. 123-132
The discovery of the first well-defined natriuretic hormone, the Atrial Natriuretic Factor (ANF), has prompted research on its impact on volume regulation in health and disease. The natriuretic, diuretic, and smooth muscle-relaxing properties suggest an important role of this novel hormone in pathophysiological states with sodium or volume retention, such as congestive heart failure or cirrhosis of the liver. Investigations on the implications of ANF in liver disease have been performed for little more than 1 year, and results are still controversial in many respects. At present, it seems very likely that there is no absolute deficiency of plasma ANF in patients with cirrhosis. Moreover, elevated plasma levels in cirrhotics with ascites have been reported by several groups. However, as yet, a molecular characterization of this increased immunoreactivity is still lacking. There is disagreement on the reduced release of and renal response to ANF in subgroups of cirrhotics; however, stimulus-response-coupling might be impaired. Further studies are needed to elucidate the pathophysiological implications and therapeutical potential of ANF in patients with chronic liver disease.