• B-type natriuretic peptides;
  • human adult cardiac fibroblasts;
  • statins;
  • pro-inflammatory cytokines


B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) is a cardiac hormone, which plays a major role in body fluid and cardiovascular homeostasis. Produced by cardiac ventricles, its expression is highly regulated by various mediators. Canine cardiac fibroblasts have been identified as a source of BNP. Cardiac fibroblasts are key regulators of myocardial structure and function. We treated cultured human adult cardiac fibroblasts (HACF) with 2000 U/ml tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), 200 U/ml interleukin-1α (IL-1α) or 50 ng/ml transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in the presence or absence of 500 nM fluvastatin. N-terminal pro-BNP (Nt-proBNP) concentration was determined by a competitive enzyme immunoassay. RealTime polymerase chain reaction (real-time PCR) was performed to investigate changes in BNP mRNA expression. Nt-proBNP peptide was present in the conditioned media of HACF and incubation with fluvastatin significantly reduced Nt-proBNP peptide levels. Treatment of HACF with TNF-α, IL-1α or TGF-β significantly increased Nt-proBNP levels compared with untreated cells. This effect was completely abolished in the presence of fluvastatin. Real-time PCR analysis confirmed these changes at the level of mRNA expression. Our data suggest that cardiac fibroblasts are a potential source of BNP in the human heart. Pro-inflammatory cytokines, associated with ventricular dysfunction and cardiac fibrosis, seem to be major inducers of BNP production in cardiac fibroblasts. This effect can be reverted by a statin. Based on our data, we speculate that elevated plasma BNP levels might not only reflect increased myocardial stretch but also inflammatory and remodelling processes. A possible benefit of statin-induced reduction in BNP production requires further studies.