The role of renal papillary blood flow in regulation of fluid and electrolyte excretion was examined. The effects of an acute infusion of diltiazem (5 micrograms.kg-1 x min-1) into the renal medullary interstitium on papillary blood flow and sodium and water excretion were studied. Changes of renal blood flow were measured using an electromagnetic flow probe. Cortical and papillary blood flows were measured using laser-Doppler flowmetry. Renal and cortical blood flows were unchanged during medullary interstitial infusion of diltiazem, but papillary blood flow increased 26% (P < 0.05) and remained elevated for 1 h after diltiazem infusion was discontinued. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of the infused kidney increased by 21% from a control of 1.0 +/- 0.1 ml.min-1 x g-1 during infusion of diltiazem (P < 0.05), but it returned to control after diltiazem infusion was stopped. Urine flow and sodium excretion increased by 70% (P < 0.05), and fractional sodium excretion rose from 1.5 +/- 0.2 to 2.4 +/- 0.3% of the filtered load during the hour after diltiazem infusion. Renal blood flow, cortical and papillary blood flow, GFR, urine flow, and sodium excretion in the 0.9% sodium chloride vehicle-infused kidney were not significantly altered during the experiment. Intravenous infusion of the same dose of diltiazem (5 micrograms.kg-1 x min-1) increased GFR by 22%, but had no effect on urine flow and sodium excretion. These results indicate that renal medullary interstitial infusion of diltiazem selectively increased renal papillary blood flow, which was associated with an increase of sodium and water excretion.
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