Regulation of extrarenal potassium homeostasis by adrenal hormones in rat

M. J. Bia, K. A. Tyler, R. A. DeFronzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The effect of chronic (7-10 days) adrenal insufficiency on extrarenal potassium tolerance was examined by infusing potassium into rats after acute nephrectomy. The increment in plasma potassium concentration was significantly higher in glucocorticoid-replaced adrenalectomized rats versus controls (max ΔP(K) 3.59 ± 0.11 vs. 2.93 ± 0.98 meq/liter; P<0.001). The impairment in extrarenal potassium tolerance in adrenalectomized rats could not be attributed to acidemia, hypotension, changes in plasma insulin or glucose concentration, or potassium retention prior to study. Acute replacement with aldosterone resulted in significant improvement in the rise in plasma potassium after KCl (max ΔP(K) 3.18 ± 0.06 meq/liter; P<0.005 compared with aldosterone-deficient adrenalectomized rats but higher than in controls, P<0.02). If given on a chronic basis, aldosterone replacement led to a complete correction of the defect (max ΔP(K) = 2.89 ± 0.08 meq/liter). Acute epinephrine replacement in adrenalectomized rats also returned potassium tolerance to normal (max ΔP(K) = 0.30.2 ± 0.10 meq/liter). The results demonstrate that extrarenal potassium tolerance is impaired in chronic adrenal insufficiency and suggest that both aldosterone and epinephrine deficiency may contribute to the defect, since replacement with either hormones returns potassium tolerance toward normal. Accordingly, both aldosterone and epinephrine have important extrarenal mechanisms of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F641-F648
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulation of extrarenal potassium homeostasis by adrenal hormones in rat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this