C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP) exerts its main biological effects by binding to natriuretic peptide receptor B (NPR-B), a membrane-bound guanylyl cyclase receptor that produces cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). CNP is known to cause gastrointestinal (GI) smooth muscle relaxation. Experimental evidence suggests a connection between CNP signaling and GI function, with reactive regions in the GI tract possibly affecting transit; however, this relation has not yet been conclusively shown. Here, we show that CNP plays important region-specific roles in the GI tract of mice. We found that treatment with CNP (1 or 2 mg/kg) increased transient cGMP production in the pylorus, colon, and rectum, with the higher dose (2 mg/kg) enhancing gastric emptying in mice; this increase in cGMP levels was however absent in NPR-B-deficient short-limbed dwarfism (SLW) mouse. Furthermore, we found that NPR-B is highly expressed in the pylorus, colon, and rectum, being localized to nerve fibers and to the nuclei and cytoplasm of smooth muscle cells of the GI tract and blood vessels. Our in vivo findings showed that NPR-B-mediated cGMP production after CNP administration specifically acted on the pylorus, colon, and rectum and contributed to gastric emptying. CNP may thus be a potential therapeutic agent for GI motility/transit disorders such as ileus and pyloric stenosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine