Sodium and water reabsorption in the proximal and distal nephron in conscious pregnant rats and third trimester women

J Physiol. 1988 Feb;396:457-70. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1988.sp016972.


1. Sodium and water reabsorption were determined in virgin controls and rats at 9 and 20 days of pregnancy during a water diuresis induced and maintained by infusion of 2.5% dextrose and in normally hydrated women during the third trimester and again 2-3 months after delivery. 2. Reabsorption from the proximal tubules and distal nephron segments was assessed using the clearance of lithium as a marker of the sodium and water delivery from the proximal tubules to the loops of Henle. 3. Glomerular filtration rate and whole-kidney reabsorption of sodium and water were significantly increased at both stages of pregnancy in rats and late in pregnancy in women when compared to the respective non-pregnant control. Fractional reabsorption was unaltered in pregnant rats but increased in pregnant women. 4. Proximal tubule sodium and water reabsorption were increased in pregnant rats and women; fractional reabsorption was unaltered. 5. Absolute reabsorption of sodium and water in distal nephron segments were increased during pregnancy in both rats and women. Although increases in fractional reabsorption were detected in pregnant women, this was not the case at either stage of gestation in rats.

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Body Water / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / physiology
  • Nephrons / physiology*
  • Postpartum Period / physiology
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Pregnancy, Animal / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sodium / metabolism*


  • Sodium