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Brain natriuretic peptide: identification of a second natriuretic peptide in human aqueous humour


AIMS/BACKGROUND To measure aqueous humour levels of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) in humans. To compare peptide levels in glaucomatous and control eyes to test the hypothesis that these peptides are increased in glaucoma. BNP and ANP are cyclic endopeptides whose principal biological effects are natriuresis and vasodilatation. Experimental glaucoma in animal models results in elevated aqueous ANP. Intravenous ANP administration in both animals and humans causes lowering of intraocular pressure (IOP). There are equivocal data to support a role for ANP in IOP regulation in human eyes. There are as yet no published data on BNP in human aqueous humour.

METHOD This was a case-control study. Cases were primary open angle, pseudoexfoliation, and mixed mechanism glaucoma eyes undergoing trabeculectomy. Controls were cataract extraction eyes. There were 47 trabeculectomy eyes (44 patients) and 47 cataract extraction eyes (46 patients) matched for age, sex, race, systemic medications, and type of anaesthetic. 100–200 μl of aqueous humour were aspirated by paracentesis as the first step in the surgical procedure. Peptide levels were later measured by radioimmunoassay.

RESULTS The presence of BNP and ANP in human aqueous humour was confirmed. BNP was present in higher concentrations than ANP. BNP levels tended to be greater in control eyes—glaucoma median 56.5 (range 0–3526.5) pg/ml versus control median 65.16 (range 0–1788) pg/ml (Wilcoxon signed rank test p = 0.78). ANP levels tended to be greater in glaucoma eyes than in controls: glaucoma median 3 (range 0–68.5) pg/ml versus control median 0 (range 0–60) pg/ml (Wilcoxon signed rank test p = 0.82). ANP and BNP were log linearly related in both groups (r glaucoma group = 0.961,r control group = 0.894).

CONCLUSION This is the first report of BNP and ANP in human aqueous humour. Peptide levels did not differ significantly between glaucoma and cataract extraction eyes. A linear relation between log BNP and ANP was found. Further studies are required to clarify the role of these peptides in aqueous humour production and IOP regulation.

  • brain natriuretic peptide
  • aqueous natriuretic peptide
  • aqueous humour
  • glaucoma

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