1. Brattleboro rats with hereditary diabetes insipidus were maintained in metabolism cages for 12–14 days. During the final 5–7 days hydrochlorothiazide was added to the food of half the animals, resulting in a sustained antidiuresis. At the end of this time all rats were anaesthetized and their renal function was investigated.
2. Water, sodium and potassium excretion rates during anaesthesia were similar to their respective values during the final period in metabolism cages.
3. Total glomerular filtration rate and superficial nephron filtration rate were similar in untreated and thiazide-treated animals. Fractional fluid reabsorption in proximal convoluted tubules, as measured by tubular fluid/plasma inulin concentration ratios in late surface convolutions, was moderately increased in the thiazide-treated rats, and was associated with a small reduction in the volume of fluid delivered to more distal nephron segments.
4. The osmolality of renal papillary interstitial fluid from thiazide-treated rats was considerably greater than that from untreated animals. There was also a small increase in papillary fluid sodium concentration.
5. It is concluded that the mechanism of the sustained antidiuresis during chronic hydrochlorothiazide administration in diabetes insipidus differs from that of the acute response. The changes in proximal tubular function during chronic thiazide treatment only partially account for the reduction in urine volume; it seems probable that the raised papillary osmolality, by enhancing water reabsorption at sites beyond the proximal tubule, makes a greater contribution to the antidiuresis.