1. Renal function in anaesthetized Brattleboro rats with hereditary hypothalamic diabetes insipidus was studied with micropuncture techniques before, and 1–3 h after, a single injection of hydrochlorothiazide.

2. In rats given hydrochlorothiazide and kept in sodium and water balance, total glomerular filtration rate and superficial nephron filtration rate were similar to values in control animals, whereas fractional fluid reabsorption in the proximal tubule (as evidenced by tubular fluid/plasma inulin concentration ratios) was slightly, but significantly, reduced. This suggests that hydrochlorothiazide may have a small direct inhibitory effect on proximal tubular reabsorption.

3. When rats were given hydrochlorothiazide and the resultant extra urinary sodium losses were not replaced, there was a marked antidiuresis. In these animals total glomerular filtration rate was reduced by 23% and superficial nephron filtration rate by 27% when compared with values in control rats. Fractional proximal tubular fluid reabsorption increased significantly whereas absolute proximal fluid reabsorption was unaffected.

4. It is concluded that the reduction in body sodium which follows acute hydrochlorothiazide administration over-rides any inhibitory effect of the drug on proximal tubular reabsorption, and leads instead to an increase in fractional fluid reabsorption at this site. This effect, combined with the fall in glomerular filtration rate, results in a greatly reduced delivery of fluid to the more distal nephron segments, and is probably largely responsible for the observed antidiuresis.

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