Vasopressin regulation of renal sodium excretion

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Vasopressin promotes renal water reabsorption decreasing excretion of free water to dilute plasma and lower serum osmolality. We have good understanding of the causes, mechanisms and consequences of this vasopressin-dependent renal water movement. In comparison, vasopressin actions on renal electrolytes including sodium excretion and its consequences have been less well understood. This is so for investigation and discussions of the renal actions of vasopressin are framed primarily around water metabolism rather than any direct effect on salt handling. The fact that water moves in biological systems, to include the mammalian kidney, only by osmosis passively down its concentration gradient is implicit in such discussion but often not overtly addressed. This can cause confusion. Moreover, although vasopressin action on renal sodium excretion via the V2 receptor is critical to water transport, it is masked easily being situationalfor instance, dependent on hydration state. It is now clear that an increase in sodium reabsorption along the distal nephron (CNT CD) mediated by activation of the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) by vasopressin makes an important contribution to maintenance of the axial corticomedullary osmotic gradient necessary for maximal water reabsorption. Thus, we need to modify slightly our understanding of vasopressin and its renal actions to include the idea that while vasopressin decreases free water excretion to dilute plasma, it does this, in part, by promoting sodium reabsorption and consequently decreasing sodium excretion via ENaC activated along the distal nephron.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-856
Number of pages8
JournalKidney international
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • renal epithelial cell
  • renal tubular epithelial cells
  • tubular epithelium
  • vasopressin
  • water-electrolyte balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Vasopressin regulation of renal sodium excretion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this