1. The effect of meals with a high and low protein content and of the fasting state on renal function and plasma atrial natriuretic peptide was studied in water-loaded normal volunteers.
2. Creatinine clearance increased after the high protein meal, but did not change after the low protein meal or while fasting. Observations of similar increases in urine sodium and potassium excretion and a transient decrease in urine flow after both meals suggest that the protein content of the meal is not an important contributory factor in these responses to feeding.
3. Absolute delivery of sodium and water out of the proximal tubules (assessed by the lithium clearance method) was higher after both meals than while fasting; fractional lithium clearance was higher after the low protein meal than the high protein meal and while fasting. Absolute reabsorption from proximal tubules was increased after only the high protein meal.
4. A transient decrease in the fraction of water delivered to distal nephron segments that appeared in the urine (fractional distal water excretion) was observed after both meals. Fractional distal sodium excretion and absolute distal sodium and water reabsorption increased after both meals.
5. Since plasma atrial natriuretic peptide either decreased (high protein meal) or remained unchanged (low protein meal and fasting), it is unlikely that this hormone is involved in the hyperfiltration after the high protein meal and the natriuresis after both high and low protein meals.