To elucidate the expression of the brain natriuretic peptide gene in the human heart, we have measured brain natriuretic peptide mRNA levels in hearts using the Northern blot hybridization method. Brain natriuretic peptide mRNA was present with a size of approximately 0.9 kb in the ventricle as well as in the atrium. The brain natriuretic peptide mRNA level in the ventricle was 52% of that in the atrium, whereas the atrial natriuretic peptide mRNA level in the ventricle was approximately two orders of magnitude lower than that in the atrium. Taking atrial and ventricular weights into account, the total amount of brain natriuretic peptide mRNA in the ventricle represented 77% of that in the whole heart. These results demonstrate that most of brain natriuretic peptide mRNA occurs in the ventricle, in contrast with atrial natriuretic peptide mRNA, which is present mainly in the atrium, indicating that the ventricle is a major production site of brain natriuretic peptide.
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