This gene is a member of the natriuretic peptide family and encodes a secreted protein which functions as a cardiac hormone. The protein undergoes two cleavage events, one within the cell and a second after secretion into the blood. The protein's biological actions include natriuresis, diuresis, vasorelaxation, inhibition of renin and aldosterone secretion, and a key role in cardiovascular homeostasis. A high concentration of this protein in the bloodstream is indicative of heart failure. Mutations in this gene have been associated with postmenopausal osteoporosis.