The kidney maintains constancy of body fluid volume by regulating urinary sodium (Na) excretion. In chronic renal failure, the reduction in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is accompanied by an increase in Na excretion per nephron if dietary Na intake is not changed. Reduction in Na intake in proportion to reduced GFR obviates this adaptive increase in tubule Na excretion. To examine the potential role of endogenous atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) in modulating the enhanced Na excretion per nephron in chronic renal failure, we studied rats subjected to 5/6 nephrectomy or sham operation on low, normal, and high Na intakes. Urinary Na excretion increased with increasing dietary Na in all groups, and Na excretion per nephron was increased in 5/6 nephrectomized rats as compared with sham-operated rats on the higher Na intakes. Plasma ANP levels were unaffected by dietary Na manipulations in sham-operated rats, but rose progressively in 5/6 nephrectomized rats with increasing Na intake. Despite extensive nephron reduction, however, plasma ANP levels failed to rise in uremic rats on low Na diets and in this group Na excretion per nephron also failed to rise. We conclude that enhanced ANP secretion may play an important role in promoting the adaptive increase in Na excretion per nephron in chronic renal failure. Restriction of dietary Na in the setting of reduced GFR obviates the stimulation of ANP secretion as well as the adaptive increase in Na excretion rate per nephron.
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