De Bold, Adolfo


Ex-Director of the Cardiovascular Endocrinology Laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Adolfo de Bold was Professor Emeritus of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

De Bold discovered that the heart has an endocrine function, one of the major cardiovascular discoveries of the past 50 years. His work on atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), the cardiac polypeptide hormone previously unknown to the scientific community, has been recognized through numerous national and international distinctions and awards.


De Bold completed his university training at the Faculty of Chemical Sciences at the National University of Córdoba, Argentina, where he obtained a professional degree in Clinical Biochemistry. In 1968, he continued his research and studies in the Department of Pathology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where he obtained a PhD in Pathology.

Most of de Bold’s research was dedicated to the study of storage granules in heart cells. In 1980, this work led to his discovery and isolation of ANF. The result of 12 years of dedicated research, this discovery revealed that the heart possesses an endocrine function: through ANF, the heart modulates blood pressure, blood volume and cardiovascular growth at multiple levels.

This incredible finding altered the scientific community’s understanding of the heart’s physiology and function, and triggered worldwide research on ANF. To date, more than 10,000 basic and clinical science papers on ANF have been published around the world. This field of research has now matured into clinical therapeutic and diagnostic applications in the treatment of heart failure.

The discovery has made de Bold one of the most cited Canadian authors, and he has given more than 150 invited lectures worldwide on his field of interest. His work on ANF was declared the first of the top 10 research accomplishments funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario in the past 50 years.

De Bold’s work on ANF has been recognized through numerous distinctions and awards. These include the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Royal Society of Canada McLaughlin Medal in Medical Research, the Ernest C. Manning Principal Award, the International Society for Hypertension Research Award, and the American Society for Hypertension Award, among others. Adolfo de Bold is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Adolfo de Bold has contributed to the field of cardiovascular research as a teacher, administrator and scientist. He was a key contributor to the establishment of the Research Centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Research & Clinical Interests 

De Bold’s research activities were centred on the endocrine function of the heart. Through this function, the heart produces and secretes into the circulation two hormones referred to as ANF and BNP. The multiple beneficial actions of these hormones include a role in the regulation of water and salt balance of the body, and other parameters that directly affect blood pressure and cardiac workload. In addition, the hormones themselves are used as therapeutic drugs.

The research spanned multiple aspects of the endocrine function of the heart, including the basic aspects of the mechanism of secretion of the hormones from the heart to their role in clinical entities such as heart failure and inflammation. In addition, a long-acting analogue of ANF was developed to obtain a drug that may be used in heart failure and other important clinical entities.


See full list of publications on Pubmed.

Recent Publications:

  • The Cardiac Hormones ANF and BNP Modulate Proliferation in the Unidirectional Mixed Lymphocyte Reaction. Kuroski de Bold ML, Etchepare A, Martinuk A and de Bold AJ J Heart Lung Transplant 29(3):323-6, 2010.
  • Thirty years of research on atrial natriuretic factor: historical background and emerging concepts. de Bold AJ. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 89: 527-31, 2011.
  • Characterization of a Long-Acting Recombinant Human Serum Albumin- Atrial Natriuretic Factor Fusion Protein. Kuroski de Bold ML ,Sheffield WP, Martinuk A and de Bold AJ. Regul Pept 10; 175:7-10, 2012.
  • Dexamethasone-Induced Ras Protein 1 (RASD1) as a Modulator of Hormone Gene Expression and Secretion in rhe Volume Overload Heart. McGrath MF, Ogawa T, and de Bold AJ Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 302(9): H1826-37, 2012
  • Uncoordinated regulation of atrial natriuretic factor and brain natriuretic peptide in lipopolysaccharide-treated Rats. Ogawa T, de Bold AJ. Biomarkers. 2012 Mar;17(2):140-9.
  • Brain natriuretic Peptide production and secretion in inflammation. Ogawa T, de Bold AJ. J Transplant. Vol. 2012; Article ID 9623472012, 2012.
  • Phospholipase C signaling tonically represses basal atrial natriuretic factor secretion from atria of the heart.Chang AI, Forero McGrath M, de Bold AJ. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 304(10):H1328-36, 2013.
  • The endocrine heart and inflammation. Ogawa T and de Bold AJ. Medicina 73: 562-6, 2013.
  • Natriuretic peptides in non-cardiac diseases. de Bold AJ. Medicina (B Aires) 74:266, 2014.
  • The heart as an endocrine organ. Ogawa T, de Bold AJ. Endocr Connect. 2014 Apr 15;3(2):R31-44.
  • Go protein subunit Goα and the secretory process of the natriuretic peptide hormones ANF and BNP. Roeske C, Martinuk A, Choudhry A, Hendy GN, Gollob M, Li Q, Georgalis T, de Bold AJ. J Mol Endocrinol. 54(3):277-88, 2015.
  • INTERACTING DISCIPLINES: Cardiac natriuretic peptides and obesity: perspectives from an endocrinologist and a cardiologist. Ramos HR, Birkenfeld AL, de Bold AJ. Endocr Connect. 4:R25-36, 2015.

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