Mechanisms of renal blood flow autoregulation: dynamics and contributions

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Jan;292(1):R1-17. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00332.2006. Epub 2006 Sep 21.


Autoregulation of renal blood flow (RBF) is caused by the myogenic response (MR), tubuloglomerular feedback (TGF), and a third regulatory mechanism that is independent of TGF but slower than MR. The underlying cause of the third regulatory mechanism remains unclear; possibilities include ATP, ANG II, or a slow component of MR. Other mechanisms, which, however, exert their action through modulation of MR and TGF are pressure-dependent change of proximal tubular reabsorption, resetting of RBF and TGF, as well as modulating influences of ANG II and nitric oxide (NO). MR requires < 10 s for completion in the kidney and normally follows first-order kinetics without rate-sensitive components. TGF takes 30-60 s and shows spontaneous oscillations at 0.025-0.033 Hz. The third regulatory component requires 30-60 s; changes in proximal tubular reabsorption develop over 5 min and more slowly for up to 30 min, while RBF and TGF resetting stretch out over 20-60 min. Due to these kinetic differences, the relative contribution of the autoregulatory mechanisms determines the amount and spectrum of pressure fluctuations reaching glomerular and postglomerular capillaries and thereby potentially impinge on filtration, reabsorption, medullary perfusion, and hypertensive renal damage. Under resting conditions, MR contributes approximately 50% to overall RBF autoregulation, TGF 35-50%, and the third mechanism < 15%. NO attenuates the strength, speed, and contribution of MR, whereas ANG II does not modify the balance of the autoregulatory mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Glomerulus / physiology
  • Kidney Tubules / physiology
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology
  • Renal Circulation / physiology*


  • Nitric Oxide