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Basis and therapeutical rationale of the urinary concentrating mechanism.

International Journal of Clinical Practice. Sym... (155):2 (2007) PMID 17727573

The urine-concentrating mechanism performs one of the most essential functions in water and electrolyte metabolism and serves primarily to maintain extracellular osmolality within a very narrow range. The history of anti-diuresis dates back more than 100 years and includes the discovery of antidiuretic hormone (AVP), the renal AVP receptor, and most recently the water channel (aquaporin) proteins. Today, the mechanisms of antidiuresis are understood on a highly detailed molecular level including both short term and long-term regulation of AQP2 function. Furthermore, the background behind many acquired and inherited disturbances of water balance has now been revealed and has enabled a precise differential diagnosis. These include different forms of diabetes insipidus, nocturnal enuresis and nocturia in the elderly. Diabetes insipidus represents a dramatic but rare disturbance of water balance caused by deficient AVP secretion (neurogenic), reduced renal sensitivity to AVP (nephrogenic), an abnormally high fluid intake (primary polydipsia), or in rare cases by placental enzymatic degradation of AVP (gestational). Nocturnal enuresis and nocturia in the elderly represents much more common disturbances and share common pathogenic features including an abnormally high nocturnal urine production. This seems at least in part to be caused by abnormally low levels of plasma AVP during night. The increased understanding of such water balance disturbances have changed dramatically prior treatment practice by introducing antidiuresis as a treatment modality. The ongoing progress in our understanding of antidiuresis may provide the basis for the development of new antidiuretic compounds.

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