Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) is a hormone produced and released by the atria of the heart. It plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure and fluid balance in the body.
ANP is released in response to increased blood volume and stretching of the atrial walls. Its primary function is to promote the excretion of sodium and water by the kidneys, which helps to reduce blood volume and lower blood pressure.
ANP acts on the kidneys by increasing the filtration rate and inhibiting the reabsorption of sodium and water in the renal tubules. This leads to increased urine production and the elimination of excess fluid from the body.
In addition to its diuretic effect, ANP also acts as a vasodilator, meaning it widens the blood vessels. This helps to reduce peripheral resistance and improve blood flow, further contributing to the regulation of blood pressure.
Overall, atrial natriuretic peptide plays a crucial role in maintaining fluid balance and blood pressure homeostasis in the body.