The natriuretic peptides signal through three receptor subtypes, of which two (NPR-A and NPR-B) are membrane-bound guanylyl cyclases for which the principal ligands are respectively atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) and C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP). In the human thyroid cell, a third receptor, NPR-C, has been implicated in the regulation of thyroglobulin, but functional roles for NPR-A and NPR-B have not yet been defined. In the present study we used RT-PCR to identify transcripts of all three receptor subtypes, both in human thyroid and in HTU-5 cells, a long-term culture of thyroid-derived cells. Both ANF and CNP induced a twofold increase in intracellular cGMP content in HTU-5 cells. Morphologic changes (a significant increase in cells of the retracted phenotype) were observed in ANF- and CNP-treated cells within 3 and 5 h of treatment respectively. Significant increases in retracted cell number were induced by ANF and CNP, but not the NPR-C-specific ring-deleted ANF analog, C-ANF(4-23), during a 15-day treatment. All three natriuretic peptides, however, induced a small (15-20%) but significant (P<0 small middle dot001) increase in DNA content per well. The stable analog of cGMP, 8-bromo-cGMP (8-BrcGMP; 1 mM), also increased the number of retracted HTU-5 cells, and was equipotent with the cAMP analog, 8-BrcAMP, in this effect. The cGMP-dependent protein kinase inhibitor, KT5823, however, had no significant effect on the ANF-induced increase in numbers of retracted cells. These results suggest that the actions of NPR-A and NPR-B, functional receptors in the human thyroid cell, may in part be mediated by cGMP-induced alterations in the cytoskeleton.
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