The current study was undertaken to investigate the presence of CNP immunoreactivity in both human kidney and urine. Immunohistochemical staining with an indirect immunoperoxidase method utilizing an antibody which is 100% cross-reactive to both CNP-53 and CNP-22 was performed on five human kidney specimens (three biopsies of normal cadaveric donor kidneys and two of normal autopsy specimens). CNP immunoreactivity was positive in proximal, distal and medullary collecting duct tubular cells in a cytoplasmic and granular staining pattern. CNP immunoreactivity was also determined in the urine of five healthy volunteers utilizing a sensitive and specific double-antibody radioimmunoassay with a mean concentration of 10.8 ± 1.0 pg/ml. With the utilization of high pressure liquid chromatography, this immunoreactivity proved to be consistent with bath the low molecular weight form, CNP-22, as well as the high molecular weight form, CNP-53. Urinary excretion of CNP was also measured in normal subjects (N = 5) and in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF, N = 6). CHF patients excreted over three times more CNP than normals (27.2 ± 2.8 vs. 8.7 ± 0.81 pg/min, P < 0.004) despite no difference between the two groups in plasma CNP concentrations (6.97 ± 0.28 vs. 8.08 ± 1.52 pg/ml, P = NS). This study demonstrates for the first time the presence of CNP immunoreactivity in human kidney and suggests that renal tubular cells may be an additional non-vascular site of synthesis for this cardiorenal acting peptide. This study also demonstrates an increase in urinary CNP excretion in congestive heart failure.
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