Phosphate homeostasis and the renal-gastrointestinal axis

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2010 Aug;299(2):F285-96. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00508.2009. Epub 2010 Jun 9.


Transport of phosphate across intestinal and renal epithelia is essential for normal phosphate balance, yet we know less about the mechanisms and regulation of intestinal phosphate absorption than we do about phosphate handling by the kidney. Recent studies have provided strong evidence that the sodium-phosphate cotransporter NaPi-IIb is responsible for sodium-dependent phosphate absorption by the small intestine, and it might be that this protein can link changes in dietary phosphate to altered renal phosphate excretion to maintain phosphate balance. Evidence is also emerging that specific regions of the small intestine adapt differently to acute or chronic changes in dietary phosphate load and that phosphatonins inhibit both renal and intestinal phosphate transport. This review summarizes our current understanding of the mechanisms and control of intestinal phosphate absorption and how it may be related to renal phosphate reabsorption; it also considers the ways in which the gut could be targeted to prevent, or limit, hyperphosphatemia in chronic and end-stage renal failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Hyperphosphatemia / etiology
  • Hyperphosphatemia / metabolism
  • Hyperphosphatemia / prevention & control
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism*
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism
  • Phosphates / blood
  • Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Sodium-Phosphate Cotransporter Proteins / metabolism*


  • Phosphates
  • Sodium-Phosphate Cotransporter Proteins