Natriuretic Peptides, Cognitive Impairment and Dementia: An Intriguing Pathogenic Link with Implications in Hypertension

Giovanna Gallo, Franca Bianchi, Maria Cotugno, Massimo Volpe, Speranza Rubattu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The natriuretic peptides (NPs) belong to a family of cardiac hormones that exert relevant protective functions within the cardiovascular system. An increase of both brain and atrial natriuretic peptide levels, particularly of the amino-terminal peptides (NT-proBNP and NT-proANP), represents a marker of cardiovascular damage. A link between increased NP levels and cognitive decline and dementia has been reported in several human studies performed both in general populations and in cohorts of patients affected by cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). In particular, it was reported that the elevation of NP levels in dementia can be both dependent and independent from CVD risk factors. In the first case, it may be expected that, by counteracting early on the cardiovascular risk factor load and the pathological processes leading to increased aminoterminal natriuretic peptide (NT-proNP) level, the risk of dementia could be significantly reduced. In case of a link independent from CVD risk factors, an increased NP level should be considered as a direct marker of neuronal damage. In the context of hypertension, elevated NT-proBNP and mid-regional (MR)-proANP levels behave as markers of brain microcirculatory damage and dysfunction. The available evidence suggests that they could help in identifying those subjects who would benefit most from a timely antihypertensive therapy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 16 2020

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