Renal effects of alpha-adrenoceptor blockade during furosemide diuresis in conscious rats

Pharmacol Toxicol. 1992 Jan;70(1):3-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0773.1992.tb00417.x.


Clearance experiments were performed in conscious rats in order to investigate whether intravenous infusion of the non-selective alpha-adrenoceptor antagonist phentolamine could block compensatory sodium reabsorption during furosemide-induced volume contraction. By measuring inulin clearance, urinary excretion rates of sodium and water, and lithium clearance, the effects on proximal and distal nephron segments were dissociated. The renal effect of intravenous infusion of 0.3 mg/kg/hr phentolamine (n = 6) was compared with time control animals (n = 9). Furosemide was administered as constant intravenous infusion (7.5 mg/kg/hr) with simultaneous phentolamine infusion at four dose levels: 0 (n = 9), 0.3 (n = 6), 1.0 (n = 7) and 3.0 mg/kg/hr (n = 6). Phentolamine infusion reduced norepinephrine-induced increase in blood pressure at all three dose levels (n = 5). Phentolamine infusion induced transient antidiuresis and a prolonged antinatriuretic response. Compared with rats given furosemide only, phentolamine attenuated dose-dependently the diuretic and natriuretic peak response to furosemide. This effect was associated with dose-dependent reductions in mean arterial pressure. The reduced natriuretic response was due to a reduced fractional sodium excretion in the distal nephron segment (at all doses of phentolamine) and a reduction of the glomerular filtration rate (1.0 and 3.0 mg/kg/hr phentolamine). The fractional lithium excretion (FELi) increased to 65 +/- 3% at 0.3 mg/kg/hr phentolamine during the natriuretic peak response of furosemide, while it only increased to 52 +/- 3% during furosemide alone. At steady-state conditions (120-180 min. after start of furosemide infusion) after infusion with furosemide plus 0.3 mg/kg/hr phentolamine the animals were still volume-depleted, but the compensatory tubular Na reabsorption in the proximal tubules was inhibited (FELi = 48 +/- 2% versus 39 +/- 1% in rats given furosemide alone). During furosemide infusion plasma epinephrine increased 700% and plasma norepinephrine increased 50%. These results are compatible with increased systemic sympathetic nervous activity and a contributory role of proximal tubular alpha-adrenoceptors in mediating compensatory sodium reabsorption during acute furosemide-induced volume contraction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Catecholamines / blood
  • Female
  • Furosemide / administration & dosage
  • Furosemide / pharmacology*
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Phentolamine / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Catecholamines
  • Furosemide
  • Phentolamine