Mechanisms and regulation of renal magnesium transport

Annu Rev Physiol. 2014;76:411-30. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-021113-170336.


Magnesium's most important role is in the release of chemical energy. Although most magnesium is stored outside of the extracellular fluid compartment, the regulated value is blood magnesium concentration. Cellular magnesium and bone magnesium do not play a major role in the defense of blood magnesium concentration; the major role is played by the kidney, where the renal tubule matches the urinary magnesium excretion and the net entry of magnesium into the extracellular fluid. In the kidney, magnesium is reabsorbed in the proximal tubule, the thick ascending limb of the loop of Henle, and the distal convoluted tubule. Magnesium absorption is mainly paracellular in the proximal tubule and in the thick ascending limb of the loop of Henle, whereas it is transcellular in the distal convoluted tubule. Several hormones and extracellular magnesium itself alter the distal tubular handling of magnesium, but the hormone(s) regulating extracellular magnesium concentration remains unknown.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney Tubules / physiology
  • Magnesium / blood
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Magnesium Deficiency / genetics
  • Magnesium Deficiency / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Magnesium