Mechanism of impaired urinary concentration in chronic primary glomerulonephritis

G. Conte, A. Dal Canton, G. Fuiano, M. Terribile, M. Sabbatini, M. Balletta, P. Stanziale, V. E. Andreucci

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To define the role of medullary damage and the influence of solute load and blood pressure (BP) in impairing urinary concentration, patients with chronic glomerulonephritis were investigated by histological and functional studies. In 59 biopsy specimens, the degree of medullary fibrosis was correlated inversely with urinary specific gravity and was significantly greater in hypertensive than in normotensive subjects. The following clearance studies were carried out in patients with a GFR of 15 to 40 ml/min in maximal antidiuresis: (1) Eight patients were studied while receiving a high sodium and protein diet and then after 1 week of low sodium, low protein diet; (2) ten patients were loaded with hypertonic saline (3%) to increase urine volume up to 25 to 30% of GFR; (3) the concentrating ability was compared in 15 normotensives and 15 hypertensives with comparable GFR; (4) the concentrating ability was studied in nine hypertensive patients before and after drug-induced normalization of BP. In (1) no change occurred in maximal urine osmolality (U(Osm)) even if fractional sodium excretion and filtered load of urea were reduced. In (2), values of U(Osm) fell below those of plasma osmolality. In (3), U(Osm) and negative free-water generation were lower in hypertensive than in normotensive subjects. In (4), normalization of BP was not associated with any change in U(Osm). These results indicate that osmotic diuresis does not play a critical role in reducing urinary concentration. This defect is better accounted for by an intrinsic medullary damage, enhanced in hypertensive patients, which may impair the permeability of collecting ducts to water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)792-798
Number of pages7
JournalKidney International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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