Urocortin (Ucn) II and III, homologous peptides of Ucn that are specific ligands for corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) type 2 receptor (CRH-R2), have recently been identified. The present study was designed to elucidate the effects of Ucn II, which is predominantly expressed in rodent heart, on neonatal rat cardiac myocytes (MCs) and cardiac non-myocytes (NMCs). Ucn II increased the incorporation of [3H]-leucine into MCs, as well as the accumulation of cAMP and the secretion of atrial natriuretic peptide. However, no significant changes were demonstrated in NMCs or an MC/NMC co-culture system. The effects of Ucn II were attenuated by astressin2-B, a specific antagonist of CRH-R2, and/or H89, an inhibitor of protein kinase A (PKA). These results indicate that Ucn II may be another endogenous cardiovascular substance that acts via CRH-R2 and the cAMP-dependent PKA pathway. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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