Regulation of phosphate (Pi) reabsorption occurs through the up- and downregulation of the renal type-II sodium Pi cotransporters (NaPi-2). Recently, renal NaPi2-type expression has been identified in areas of the brain. The present study determined whether brain NaPi-2 is regulated by dietary Pi and whether the behavioral and renal adaptations to low-dietary Pi are controlled centrally. NaPi-2-like expression in the third ventricle (3V) and amygdala of juvenile Wistar rats was regulated by dietary Pi, as in the kidneys. When cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Pi concentration was elevated by 3V injections of Pi in rats fed low-Pi diet (LPD), the behavioral and renal adaptations to LPD were abolished. Most importantly, NaPi-2 expression was markedly reduced not only in the brain, but also renal proximal tubules, despite the low plasma Pi milieu. This was confirmed by the significant reduction in the transport maximum for Pi (from 8.1+/-0.2 in LPD + veh 3V to 1.7+/-0.1 micromol Pi/ml glomerular filtration rate in LPD + 3V Pi, P < 0.001). These findings indicate that NaPi-2-like transporters in the brain are regulated by both dietary Pi and CSF Pi concentrations, and most significantly, that the central Pi milieu can regulate renal NaPi-2 expression. We hypothesize that central 3V NaPi-2 transporters may act as Pi sensors and help regulate both brain and whole body Pi homeostasis.