We investigated the expression and secretion of the natriuretic peptides (NPs) ANF and BNP in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced sepsis and its association with cytokines and other biologically active substances. LPS treatment increased plasma levels of ANF and BNP. The latter increase was larger than the increase in plasma ANF. LPS also increased cardiac content and gene expression of BNP but not of ANF. LPS treatment significantly increased gene expression cytokines, chemokines and proteases, which significantly correlated with BNP gene expression. SB203580, a p38 MAP kinase inhibitor, inhibited the elevation of BNP in plasma. The present work suggests that during inflammation, BNP gene expression and secretion is uniquely related to changes in gene expression in the absence of hemodynamic changes and hence differentiates ANF and BNP as biomarkers of cardiac disease.