The antidiuretic hormone vasopressin is crucial for regulating free water clearance in normal physiology. However, it has also been hypothesized that vasopressin has deleterious effects on the kidney. Vasopressin is elevated in animals and patients with chronic kidney disease. Suppression of vasopressin activity reduces proteinuria, renal hypertrophy, glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis in animal models. The potential detrimental influence of vasopressin is probably mediated by its effects on mesangial cell proliferation, renin secretion, renal hemodynamics, and blood pressure. In this review, we discuss the increasing body of evidence pointing towards the contribution of vasopressin to chronic kidney disease progression in general and to autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease in particular. These data allude to the possibility that interventions directed at lowering vasopressin activity, for example by the administration of vasopressin receptor antagonists or by drinking more water, may be beneficial in chronic kidney disease.
Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.