1. Atrial natriuretic factor is metabolized by neutral endopeptidase (atriopeptidase; EC in vitro. Inhibitors of this enzyme have been reported to prolong the half-life of atrial natriuretic factor in vivo and to potentiate the renal and haemodynamic effects of exogenous atrial natriuretic factor.

2. (±)-Candoxatrilat, a selective neutral endopeptidase inhibitor, potentiated the natriuretic and diuretic response to volume loading in anaesthetized rats. Part of the response to volume loading and the potentiation by (±)-candoxatrilat was prevented by a polyclonal atrial natriuretic factor antiserum. The diuretic and natriuretic responses evoked by hydrochlorothiazide were not altered by the antiserum.

3. (±)-Candoxatrilat reduced systolic blood pressure of one-kidney deoxycorticosterone acetate-salt hypertensive rats for over 5 h. This response was abolished by pretreatment with atrial natriuretic factor antiserum.

4. These data demonstrate that the neutral endopeptidase inhibitor (±)-candoxatrilat has natriuretic/diuretic and antihypertensive effects in rodents, and that these effects are mediated via endogenous atrial natriuretic factor.

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