Live kidney donation is increasing rapidly. Increases of blood pressure and proteinuria but no accelerated loss of renal function in kidney donors have been described. The credibility of this research is hampered by retrieval rates of only 50-70% of donors. We studied renal function, blood pressure, proteinuria, parathyroid hormone, 1,25(OH)2 cholecalciferol and calcium and phosphate excretion in a live kidney donor cohort with a 93% retrieval rate. A comprehensive physical and laboratory examination including 24-h urine collection was conducted. None of the 152 donors had renal failure. Mean time after uninephrectomy was 11 +/- 7 (range: 1-28) years. GFR had declined by 25%. Blood pressure had increased from 125 +/- 15/79 +/- 11 to 134 +/- 19/81 +/- 9 mmHg (p < 0.01) but remained significantly below normal. Fifty six percent of donors developed proteinuria (>150 mg/day), but only 10% had albuminuria. Nineteen percent had increased PTH, 30% had a decreased tubular reabsorption rate of phosphate. Regarding risk factors for a higher loss of GFR, greater increases in blood pressure or proteinuria no consistent picture emerged. Because of the high incidence of proteinuria and possible changes in bone metabolism inclusion of kidney donors in registries appears worthwhile.