BACKGROUND: The cardiac hormones atrial (ANP) and B-type natriuretic peptides (BNP) moderate arterial blood pressure and improve energy metabolism as well as insulin sensitivity via their shared cGMP-producing guanylyl cyclase-A (GC-A) receptor. Obesity is associated with impaired NP/GC-A/cGMP signaling, which possibly contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes and its cardiometabolic complications. In vitro, synthetic ANP, via GC-A, stimulates glucose-dependent insulin release from cultured pancreatic islets and β-cell proliferation. However, the relevance for systemic glucose homeostasis in vivo is not known. To dissect whether the endogenous cardiac hormones modulate the secretory function and/or proliferation of β-cells under (patho)physiological conditions in vivo, here we generated a novel genetic mouse model with selective disruption of the GC-A receptor in β-cells. METHODS: Mice with a floxed GC-A gene were bred to Rip-Cre mice, thereby deleting GC-A selectively in β-cells (β GC-A KO). Weight gain, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion were monitored in normal diet (ND)- and high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice. β-cell size and number were measured by immunofluorescence-based islet morphometry. RESULTS: In vitro, the insulinotropic and proliferative actions of ANP were abolished in islets isolated from β GC-A KO mice. Concordantly, in vivo, infusion of BNP mildly enhanced baseline plasma insulin levels and glucose-induced insulin secretion in control mice. This effect of exogenous BNP was abolished in β GC-A KO mice, corroborating the efficient inactivation of the GC-A receptor in β-cells. Despite this under physiological, ND conditions, fasted and fed insulin levels, glucose-induced insulin secretion, glucose tolerance and β-cell morphology were similar in β GC-A KO mice and control littermates. However, HFD-fed β GC-A KO animals had accelerated glucose intolerance and diminished adaptative β-cell proliferation. CONCLUSIONS: Our studies of β GC-A KO mice demonstrate that the cardiac hormones ANP and BNP do not modulate β-cell's growth and secretory functions under physiological, normal dietary conditions. However, endogenous NP/GC-A signaling improves the initial adaptative response of β-cells to HFD-induced obesity. Impaired β-cell NP/GC-A signaling in obese individuals might contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.