Sodium and potassium handling by the aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron: the pivotal role of the distal and connecting tubule

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2004 Oct;287(4):F593-601. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00454.2003.

Abstract

Sodium reabsorption and potassium secretion in the distal convoluted tubule and in the connecting tubule can maintain the homeostasis of the body, especially when dietary sodium intake is high and potassium intake is low. Under these conditions, a large proportion of the aldosterone-regulated sodium and potassium transport would occur in these nephron segments before the tubular fluid reaches the collecting duct. The differences between these two segments and the collecting duct would be more quantitative than qualitative. The collecting duct would come into play when the upstream segments are overloaded by a primary genetic defect that affects sodium and/or potassium transport or by a diet that is exceedingly poor in sodium and rich in potassium. It is likely that the homeostatic role of the distal convoluted and connecting tubules, which are technically difficult to study, has been underestimated, whereas the role of the more easily accessible collecting duct may have been overemphasized.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aldosterone / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Kidney Tubules, Distal / metabolism*
  • Nephrons / metabolism*
  • Potassium / metabolism*
  • Sodium / metabolism*

Substances

  • Aldosterone
  • Sodium
  • Potassium