Regulation of renal function by the gastrointestinal tract: potential role of gut-derived peptides and hormones

Annu Rev Physiol. 2008;70:379-403. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physiol.69.040705.141330.


The concept of a regulatory link between the gastrointestinal tract and kidneys is not new. The idea that dietary intake and composition can affect renal function is perhaps self-evident, but defining this relationship, especially in terms of sensors and effectors, is proving more difficult. That the gastrointestinal tract can exert some control over renal function was strengthened by the early observation that oral ingestion of a sodium chloride load has a greater natriuretic effect than when the same amount is given intravenously. This effect was subsequently shown to be independent of changes in aldosterone and atrial natriuretic peptide, although not necessarily angiotensin-II. However, the nature of any intestinal natriuretic peptide remains uncertain, despite suggestions that various gut-derived hormones, including guanylin and uroguanylin, may be involved. There is also an emerging concept of gastrointestinal taste and taste-like receptor mechanisms present throughout the gastrointestinal tract, which may govern the excretion of other key electrolytes, including potassium and phosphate. The evidence for gut sensors of nutrients such as proteins, amino acids, glucose, and acid is now becoming more established. Thus, we can anticipate the existence and eventual characterization of several gut ion sensors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrolytes / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Peptide Hormones / physiology*


  • Electrolytes
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones
  • Peptide Hormones