Circadian variations of renal sodium handling in patients with orthostatic hypotension

Kidney Int. 1998 Oct;54(4):1276-82. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1755.1998.00089.x.


Background: Sodium wasting during the night has been postulated as a potential pathophysiological mechanism in patients suffering from orthostatic hypotension due to severe autonomic deficiency.

Methods: In this study, the diurnal variations in creatinine clearance, sodium excretion and segmental renal tubular handling of sodium were evaluated in 18 healthy subjects and 20 young patients with orthostatic hypotension (OH). In addition, 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure and the neuro-hormonal response to changes in posture were determined. The patients and their controls were studied on a free sodium intake. In a second protocol, 10 controls and 10 patients were similarly investigated after one week of a high salt diet (regular diet + 6 g NaCl/day).

Results: Our results demonstrate that, in contrast to normal subjects in whom no significant changes in glomerular filtration, sodium excretion and segmental sodium reabsorption were observed throughout the day, patients with OH were characterized by a significant increase in glomerular filtration rate during the nighttime (P = 0.03) and significant increases in urinary lithium excretion (P < 0.05) and lithium clearance (P = 0.05) during the night, suggesting a decreased proximal reabsorption of sodium. On a high sodium diet, the symptoms of orthostatic hypotension and the circadian variations in sodium reabsorption were significantly blunted.

Conclusions: These results suggest that, while the patient is in a supine position the effective blood volume of those with OH becomes excessive due to the increased venous return. Hence, the kidney responds with an increase in glomerular filtration and a relative escape of sodium from the proximal tubular segments. These circadian variations in renal sodium handling may contribute to the maintenance of the orthostatic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Volume
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / physiopathology*
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / urine
  • Kidney / physiopathology*
  • Lithium / urine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Natriuresis
  • Sodium / metabolism*
  • Sodium, Dietary / administration & dosage


  • Sodium, Dietary
  • Lithium
  • Sodium