1. Healthy subjects, given a long-acting preparation of vasopressin intramuscularly, excreted a significantly less concentrated urine than when subjected to fluid deprivation for 28 h.
2. When fludrocortisone, a potent mineralocorticoid, was given in addition to vasopressin the urine was not significantly less concentrated than after fluid deprivation.
3. Oral urea-loading also enhanced the urine-concentrating power of vasopressin but its effect was less marked than that of fludrocortisone. Oral urea did not increase further the urine concentration achieved by combined fludrocortisone and vasopressin.
4. Renal concentrating power was assessed in fourteen patients with renal disease and impaired concentrating ability. Fludrocortisone significantly enhanced the urine concentration achieved by vasopressin alone and the resultant urine was not significantly less concentrated than that achieved by fluid deprivation.
5. The action of fludrocortisone in enhancing the urine-concentrating effect of vasopressin is similar to that of aldosterone and is probably due to the increased sequestration of solute in the renal medulla, caused by increased reabsorption of sodium chloride in the ascending limb of the loop of Henle.
6. In the clinical assessment of renal concentrating power, the combined use of fludrocortisone and vasopressin has potential advantages over established methods.