The presence of high affinity receptors for atrial natriuretic peptide in bovine adrenal cortex has enabled the development of a sensitive, specific and rapid radioreceptor assay for this peptide in human plasma. In 18 normal subjects, venous plasma atrial natriuretic peptide concentration ranged from 6 to 65 pM. This plasma concentration was two-fold higher in right atrium as compared to venous blood in 12 patients investigated by cardiac catheterisation, confirming that the right atrium is the site of release of atrial natriuretic peptide into circulation. There was a further step up in plasma atrial natriuretic peptide concentration between pulmonary arterial and aortic plasma. This finding indicates that released hormone in man may undergo further activation in the lungs, or that there may be direct release from the left atrium.