Angiotensin, thirst, and sodium appetite: retrospect and prospect

Fed Proc. 1978 Nov;37(13):2669-75.


The fact that drinking in response to some hypovolemic stimuli was attenuated by nephrectomy but not by ureteric ligation led to the suggestion that the renal renin-angiotensin system may play a role in hypovolemic thirst. The isolation of a thirst factor from the kidney and the demonstration that this substance was renin supported the hypothesis. Subsequently, it was shown that the effects of renin on drinking were mediated through angiotensin II, which proved to be a potent dipsogenic substance when administered systemically or injected directly into the brain. Recently, it has been shown that angiotensin II, infused intravenously or through the carotid artery at rates that produce increases in plasma angiotensin II levels similar to those that occur in mild sodium depletion, causes the water-replete animal to drink. This discovery establishes that angiotensin is a physiological stimulus to drinking but it leaves open the question of the extent of the involvement of renal renin in normal thirst. Other unsolved problems are the role of cerebral isorenin in angiotensin thirst and its relationship with renal renin, and in view of its stimulating action on sodium intake when infused into the brain, whether angiotensin plays a significant role in sodium appetite.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensins / pharmacology
  • Angiotensins / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Estrus / drug effects
  • Female
  • History, 19th Century
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Renin / history*
  • Renin / physiology
  • Sodium / metabolism*
  • Thirst / physiology*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / drug effects


  • Angiotensins
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Sodium
  • Renin