1. Iodinated vasopressin was microinjected into early proximal or distal tubules of Wistar and Brattleboro (diabetes insipidus) rats. Sites of infusion were determined by the lissamine green transit time method.
2. Urinary recovery of 125I after proximal and distal injections was 89 ± se 1·7% and 94 ± 1·0% in Wistar rats (corrected for inulin) and 81 ± 20 and 92 ± 2·0% in Brattleboro rats (uncorrected); injection of hormone into vascular stars resulted in similar 125I recoveries from punctured and contralateral kidneys.
3. Radioactive substances excreted after perfusing proximal and distal sites in Brattleboro animals, and 125I-labelled hormone added to urine from the contralateral kidney, bound similarly to a specific arginine vasopressin antiserum and demonstrated similar radioactive elution profiles after passage through Sephadex G25 columns.
4. Incubation of labelled and unlabelled vasopressin with rat kidney homogenates resulted in similar and complete degradation of the hormone.
5. Results indicate that most of the vasopressin injected into either proximal or distal nephrons enters the urine intact, and no evidence of tubular secretion was found when perfusing vascular stars. Enzymes in rat renal tissue degrade labelled vasopressin, but the ability of the proximal tubule to hydrolyse the 125I-labelled vasopressin is limited, especially when compared with that reported for several linear peptide hormones.