We compared the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) response to amino acids in patients with glomerular disease and polycystic kidney disease. The GFR response to infusion of amino acids (75 g/12 h), of dopamine (2 micrograms/kg per min), or their combination was evaluated in nine healthy probands and in patients with two types of renal diseases at various degrees of renal function: 15 patients with ADPKD and 11 patients with glomerular disease (IgA glomerulonephritis or diabetic nephropathy). Steady-state inulin infusion technique was used. In healthy subjects amino acids increased median C(in) in response to amino acids was not found in glomerular disease. In contrast in most ADPKD patients median C(in) increased after amino acids (+6.0 ml/min; range -4 to +68), (P less than 0.05). The response to amino acids was not modified by dopamine. The results demonstrate that amino acid-induced acute changes of glomerular filtration differ in polycystic kidney disease compared with glomerular disease. These observations may have implications with respect to mechanisms of progression.