1. Dietary sodium reduction in man is followed by rapid conservation of sodium by the kidneys. The rapidity of this response suggests that the gastrointestinal tract is involved in early recognition of changes in sodium intake or in mediation of the compensatory response.
2. In order to test the hypothesis, 100 mmol of sodium was given to normal volunteers in balance on a low-sodium diet (5 mmol/24 h): the dose was given either orally or intravenously.
3. Those who received their sodium orally excreted it more rapidly than those who received it intravenously and the difference was most marked in the first 8 h after the dose.
4. This finding is consistent with the presence of an input receptor for sodium in the gastrointestinal tract.