Hydration status affects urea transport across rat urothelia

David A. Spector, Jie Deng, Kerry J. Stewart

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12 Scopus citations


Although mammalian urinary tract epithelium (urothelium) is generally considered impermeable to water and solutes, recent data suggest that urine constituents may be reabsorbed during urinary tract transit and storage. To study water and solute transport across the urothelium in an in vivo rat model, we instilled urine (obtained during various rat hydration conditions) into isolated in situ rat bladders and, after a 1-h dwell, retrieved the urine and measured the differences in urine volume and concentration and total quantity of urine urea nitrogen and creatinine between instilled and retrieved urine in rat groups differing by hydration status. Although urine volume did not change >1.9% in any group, concentration (and quantity) of urine urea nitrogen in retrieved urine fell significantly (indicating reabsorption of urea across bladder urothelia), by a mean of 18% (489 mg/dl, from an instilled 2,658 mg/dl) in rats receiving ad libitum water and by a mean of 39% (2,544 mg/dl, from an instilled 6,204 mg/dl) in water-deprived rats, but did not change (an increase of 15 mg/dl, P = not significant, from an instilled 300 mg/dl) in a water-loaded rat group. Two separate factors affected urea nitrogen reabsorption rates, a urinary factor related to hydration status, likely the concentration of urea nitrogen in the instilled urine, and a bladder factor(s), also dependent on the animal's state of hydration. Urine creatinine was also absorbed during the bladder dwell, and hydration group effects on the concentration and quantity of creatinine reabsorbed were qualitatively similar to the hydration group effect on urea transport. These findings support the notion(s) that urinary constituents may undergo transport across urinary tract epithelia, that such transport may be physiologically regulated, and that urine is modified during transit and storage through the urinary tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F1208-F1217
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Creatinine
  • Epithelial transport
  • Urea
  • Urinary tract
  • Urothelia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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