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Logo of jcinvestThe Journal of Clinical InvestigationCurrent IssueArchiveSubscriptionAbout the Journal
J Clin Invest. 1975 February; 55(2): 377–387.
PMCID: PMC301756

The mechanism of the natriuresis of fasting.


This study tests the hypothesis than obligatory cation coverage of metabolicaly generated anions is the mechanism for the sodium diuresis of fasting. Nine obese female subjects were equilibrated on a constant sodium and caloric intake and then fasted while sodium intake was maintianed. Particular activity schedule during fasting as during control. Consecutive 3-h increases in urinary sodium , ammonium, and potassium excretion during fasting were matched against simultaneously determined increases in organic acid anions (OAS) and H2PO4 minus, which would exist in combination with the cations. The changes were significantly correlated (r equals 0.891, P less than 0.001) in the relationship y equals 0.73x plus 19 where y equals increases in organic acid salts plus H2POJ minus and x equals increases in cations. As ammonium excretion rose, sodium conservation occurred with ammonium replacing sodium at the major urinary cation. Corollaries to the hypothesis were also found to be true. They were: (a) Increases in ammonium excretion lagged considerably behind increases in OAS plus H2PO4 minus during the diuretic phase making sodium coverage necessary. (b) Sodium loss was much greater than chloride although chloride balance was minimally negative. (c) After refeeding with glucose, sodium excretion promptly decreased and appeared best correlated with simultaneous decreases in OAS. Ammonium excretion also fell but much less than sodium. The data support the hypothesis that obligatory cation coverage of metabolically generated aniuns is a major mechanism responsible for the sodium diuresis of fasting.

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