1. In a group of patients with cirrhosis who showed a wide range of values for the rate of renal sodium excretion, the latter was found to be inversely related to both the plasma concentration and rate of renal excretion of aldosterone. However, for a given sodium excretion the values for aldosterone were significantly lower in the patients than for a group of healthy control subjects. These findings suggest either an increased renal tubular sensitivity to aldosterone or the participation of other factors in the pathogenesis of the sodium retention.
2. Based on measurements of the rate of urine flow and the clearances of free water and inulin during a maximal water diuresis, the fractional reabsorption of sodium by the ‘proximal’, ‘diluting segment’ and ‘distal’ segments of the nephron was estimated. For patients retaining sodium the enhanced reabsorption occurred at both proximal and distal sites, the latter being quantitatively more important. There was no significantly enhanced sodium reabsorption in the diluting segment.