Gut sensing of potassium intake and its role in potassium homeostasis

Semin Nephrol. 2013 May;33(3):248-56. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2013.04.005.


Extracellular K(+) homeostasis has been explained by feedback mechanisms in which changes in extracellular K(+) concentration drive renal K(+) excretion directly or indirectly via stimulating aldosterone secretion. However, this cannot explain meal-induced kaliuresis, which often occurs without increases in plasma K(+) or aldosterone concentrations. Recent studies have produced evidence supporting a feedforward control in which gut sensing of dietary K(+) increases renal K(+) excretion (and extrarenal K(+) uptake) independent of plasma K(+) concentrations, namely, a gut factor. This review focuses on these new findings and discusses the role of gut factor in acute and chronic regulation of extracellular K(+) as well as in the beneficial effects of high K(+) intake on the cardiovascular system.

Keywords: Potassium excretion; feedback control; feedforward control; potassium adaptation; potassium balance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / physiology*
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / physiology*
  • Potassium / metabolism*
  • Potassium, Dietary / metabolism*


  • Gastrointestinal Hormones
  • Insulin
  • Potassium, Dietary
  • Potassium