Human’s biological system is well equipped to maintain its health in proper conditions. Our biochemical messengers – the hormones, play a crucial role in the same. Efforts are made by scientists to study the mechanisms and effects of the endogenous hormones.
The Atrial Natriuretic Peptide, also known as ANP is a hormone secreted by the heart’s muscle cells. The scientists of the University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet located in Denmark had conducted research, studying the function of this hormone in rats. Their research findings are published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
The study suggested that ANP has the potential to reduce hypertension (blood pressure). It does so, by entering our bloodstream causing an increase in the size of blood vessels and also by removing sodium content from our body through urine. The increase in the diameter of blood vessels is known as vasodilation. Blood pressure problem arises when the blood pumped by the heart exerts either low or high pressure on the blood vessels.
Katrine Schjoldager is an assistant professor in the Copenhagen Center for Glycomics at the University of Copenhagen. She says that the hormone activity is dependent on the presence and absence of a particular sugar on the peptide hormone. If the sugar is present, fluid balance and blood pressure regulation are influenced differently.
The Comprehensive Glycoproteomics analysis – a study that deals with understanding Glycosylation; together with modern technology such as mass spectroscopy and the specialized software made it possible to understand ANP’s functions in the animal models. Cells can ‘tag’ different sites on the proteins with a particular sugar to alter their functions and gain stability. This is the key to cure hypertension without giving any side effects.
The scientists are also interested in knowing the heart’s mechanism to control this sugar and its attachment on the hormone. Efforts will be made in the future to understand the functional variations of this hormone in humans under certain conditions like heart failures.