Renal sodium and water handling in hypothyroid patients: The role of renal insufficiency

Michael Allon, Arthur Harrow, Charles B. Pasque, Mariano Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanism responsible for renal tubular abnormalities in sodium and water excretion in hypothyroid patients is poorly understood. To evaluate the possible contribution of the reduced glomerular filtration rate of hypothyroidism to these abnormalities, tubular function in hypothyroid patients was compared with that in patients with chronic renal failure and in normal subjects. The lithium clearance method and oral water loading were used to evaluate parameters of tubular sodium and water handling, respectively. The hypothyroid and the chronic renal failure patients were selected to have similar reductions in glomerular filtration rate. As compared to the normal subjects, the hypothyroid and chronic renal failure patients had a decrease in proximal sodium reabsorption and an increase in distal sodium reabsorption. The changes in tubular handling of sodium were not different in the hypothyroid and the chronic renal failure patients. Maximal urinary flow rate and free water clearances were similarly reduced in the hypothyroid patients and the chronic renal failure patients. For all subjects studied, proximal sodium reabsorption and maximal urinary volume were directly correlated with the glomerular filtration rate, and distal nephron sodium reabsorption was proportionate to delivery of sodium from the proximal tubule. The results suggest that the abnormalities in tubular sodium and water handling in hypothyroid patients are comparable to those present in other patients with a similar degree of renal insufficiency. Thus, the tubular abnormalities in hypothyroidism may be a consequence of the associated decrease in glomerular filtration rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-210
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lithium clearance
  • Renal function
  • Sodium excretion
  • Tubular function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


Dive into the research topics of 'Renal sodium and water handling in hypothyroid patients: The role of renal insufficiency'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this