Proguanylin and prouroguanylin are the inactive precursors of guanylin and uroguanylin, natriuretic peptides involved in the regulation of sodium balance. Urinary uroguanylin levels have been found previously to be elevated in patients with HF (heart failure). The aim of the present study was to investigate whether plasma proguanylin and prouroguanylin levels are increased in patients with HF and to evaluate their relationship with cardiac and renal function. In this prospective observational study, we recruited 243 patients with HF (151 men) and 72 healthy controls. In patients with HF, plasma levels of proguanylin [median, 7.2 (range, 0.9-79.0) microg/l] and prouroguanylin [8.3 (1.7-53.0 microg/l)] were both significantly (P<0.0005) higher compared with levels in healthy controls [5.5 (0.4-22.3 microg/l) for proguanylin and 6.3 (2.5-16.9) microg/l for prouroguanylin]. In patients with HF, increased age, a history of hypertension, diabetes and atrial fibrillation, use of diuretics, a higher NYHA (New York Heart Association) class and a lower eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) were significant univariate predictors of proguanylin and prouroguanylin levels. In multivariate analysis, a history of hypertension and low eGFR both had strong independent associations with proguanylin and prouroguanylin levels. Proguanylin and prouroguanylin varied significantly between NYHA class with a trend of increasing plasma concentrations with worsening severity of symptoms. In conclusion, plasma proguanylin and prouroguanylin are elevated in patients with HF. Elevated plasma proguanylin and prouroguanylin levels are associated with hypertension, renal impairment and increasing severity of HF. This novel endocrine system may contribute to the pathophysiology of HF.N.M. is supported by the Nuffield Hospital Leicester, and H.N. is supported by a British Heart Foundation clinical research training fellowship [grant number FS/09/040]. We are also grateful for the support of the Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit through the National Institute of Health Research
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