Inhibition of COMT induces dopamine-dependent natriuresis and inhibition of proximal tubular Na+,K+-ATPase

Kidney Int. 1997 Sep;52(3):742-7. doi: 10.1038/ki.1997.390.


The enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), which plays an important role for dopamine metabolism, is abundantly expressed in the kidney. To test whether the natriuretic effects of dopamine may be related to the rate of dopamine metabolism, rats were treated with nitecapone, a peripheral inhibitor of COMT. Nitecapone, given by gavage, induced a highly significant (5.6-fold) increase in sodium excretion, which was associated with an inhibition of the Na+,K+-ATPase activity in both the proximal convoluted and proximal straight tubules (PCT and PST, respectively). These effects were completely abolished if the rats were also treated with a specific dopamine 1 antagonist, SCH 23390. Furthermore, the natriuretic effect of nitecapone was also observed in rats on a high salt diet. The kidney-specific pro-drug to dopamine, glu-dopa, induced a significant, but less pronounced increase in urinary sodium excretion, associated with a dopamine-dependent inhibition of the Na+,K+-ATPase activity in the PCT but not in the PST. Nitecapone and glu-dopa had an additive natriuretic effect. It is concluded that COMT plays an important role in determining the natriuretic effects of the renal dopamine system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzazepines / pharmacology
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase Inhibitors*
  • Catechols / pharmacology
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine / analogs & derivatives
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine / pharmacology
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Dopamine Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Natriuresis / drug effects
  • Natriuresis / physiology*
  • Pentanones / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Benzazepines
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase Inhibitors
  • Catechols
  • Dopamine Antagonists
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Pentanones
  • gamma-glutamyl DOPA
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine
  • nitecapone
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase
  • Dopamine