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Hypertonic saline was infused into 11 volunteers to osmotically stimulate vasopressin secretion. A strong positive correlation between plasma arginine vasopressin (PAVP) and plasma osmolality (Pos) was obtained, defined by the function PAVP=0.63 (Pos–284), r=+0.80, P<0.001. The sensitivity of vasopressin secretion to osmotic stimulation was represented by the slope of the expression and the theoretical threshold of vasopressin release by the abscissal intercept. Plasma osmolality at the onset of thirst was 298.5±1.1 mmol/kg. Application of hypertonic saline infusion to 10 polyuric patients clearly separated those with normal osmoregulation of vasopressin secretion from those with cranial diabetes insipidus.