Document Detail

Catecholamines, cardiac natriuretic peptides and chromogranin A: evolution and physiopathology of a 'whip-brake' system of the endocrine heart.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20802109     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In the past 50 years, extensive evidence has shown the ability of vertebrate cardiac non-neuronal cells to synthesize and release catecholamines (CA). This formed the mindset behind the search for the intrinsic endocrine heart properties, culminating in 1981 with the discovery of the natriuretic peptides (NP). CA and NP, co-existing in the endocrine secretion granules and acting as major cardiovascular regulators in health and disease, have become of great biomedical relevance for their potent diagnostic and therapeutic use. The concept of the endocrine heart was later enriched by the identification of a growing number of cardiac hormonal substances involved in organ modulation under normal and stress-induced conditions. Recently, chromogranin A (CgA), a major constituent of the secretory granules, and its derived cardio-suppressive and antiadrenergic peptides, vasostatin-1 and catestatin, were shown as new players in this framework, functioning as cardiac counter-regulators in 'zero steady-state error' homeostasis, particularly under intense excitatory stimuli, e.g. CA-induced myocardial stress. Here, we present evidence for the hypothesis that is gaining support, particularly among human cardiologists. The actions of CA, NP and CgA, we argue, may be viewed as a hallmark of the cardiac capacity to organize 'whip-brake' connection-integration processes in spatio-temporal networks. The involvement of the nitric oxide synthase (NOS)/nitric oxide (NO) system in this configuration is discussed. The use of fish and amphibian paradigms will illustrate the ways that incipient endocrine-humoral agents have evolved as components of cardiac molecular loops and important intermediates during evolutionary transitions, or in a distinct phylogenetic lineage, or under stress challenges. This may help to grasp the old evolutionary roots of these intracardiac endocrine/paracrine networks and how they have evolved from relatively less complicated designs. The latter can also be used as an intellectual tool to disentangle the experimental complexity of the mammalian and human endocrine hearts, suggesting future investigational avenues.
Bruno Tota; Maria Carmela Cerra; Alfonsina Gattuso
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  213     ISSN:  1477-9145     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2010 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-08-30     Completed Date:  2010-11-29     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  3081-103     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Cell Biology, University of Calabria, 87030, Arcavacata di Rende, Italy.
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MeSH Terms
Amino Acid Sequence
Biological Evolution*
Catecholamines / metabolism*
Chromogranin A / metabolism*
Endocrine System / physiology*
Heart / anatomy & histology,  physiology*,  physiopathology
Molecular Sequence Data
Myocardial Contraction / physiology
Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism,  ultrastructure
Natriuretic Peptides / genetics,  metabolism*
Nitric Oxide / metabolism
Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
Sequence Alignment
Signal Transduction / physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Catecholamines; 0/Chromogranin A; 0/Natriuretic Peptides; 10102-43-9/Nitric Oxide; EC Oxide Synthase

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