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Differential effects of the degree of renal damage on p-aminohippuric acid and inulin clearances in rats

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Kidney disease is generally thought to affect all segments of a nephron equally. Bricker and co-workers first proposed this as the Intact Nephron hypothesis in 1971, and evidence to date has usually supported this hypothesis. However, most supporting studies have involved severe renal failure, which may not be suitable to differentiate effects on functional sites or to test the hypothesis. The work included here examines the effects of limited renal failure on two separate functions of the nephron: glomerular filtration, as measured by inulin clearance and proximal tubular organic anion secretory function, as measured by p-aminohippuric acid (PAH) clearance. Renal failure was induced in rats by intravenous administration of uranyl nitrate, a nephrotoxin. Doses used were 0.3, 1.0, and 3.0 mg/kg rat body weight. Five days later, rats were given an intravenous infusion of PAH and inulin. Renal clearance of each compound was calculated. Results obtained in these experiments show that, at the lowest uranyl nitrate dose, PAH clearance was significantly decreased but inulin clearance was not. The ratio of CLPAH/CLIN was decreased from 2.55 in control rats to 1.21 in rats given the low dose of nephrotoxin. At higher uranyl nitrate doses, both clearance rates were significantly decreased and the ratio of CLPAH/CLIN remained close to 1.0. These results indicate that the active transport functions of the nephron can be differentiated from passive transport functions. Caution should be exercised in extrapolating renal disease changes in active renal secretion to changes in passive renal elimination and the reverse.

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Author information

Correspondence to Leslie Z. Benet.

Additional information

This work was supported in part by NIH grants GM 26691 and GM 36633. C.A.G. was supported in part by a fellowship from the American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education.

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Gloff, C.A., Benet, L.Z. Differential effects of the degree of renal damage on p-aminohippuric acid and inulin clearances in rats. Journal of Pharmacokinetics and Biopharmaceutics 17, 169–177 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01059026

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Key words

  • p-aminohippuric acid
  • inulin
  • renal clearance
  • renal failure