1. We measured ouabain-insensitive adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase), sodium, potassium-dependent adenosine triphosphatase (Na+,K+-ATPase) and intracellular Na+ and K+ in the erythrocytes of 19 healthy volunteers, before and after supplementation of their normal diet with 6.0–8.9 g of salt (102–137 mmol of NaCl) per day, for 5 days.
2. The subjects had a small but significant gain in weight. Mean plasma renin activity decreased from 1.57 to 0.73 pmol of angiotensin I h−1 ml−1 and plasma aldosterone from 0.46 to 0.24 nmol/l.
3. Total ATPase activity fell from 197.9 nmol of inorganic phosphate h−1 mg−1 during the control period to 173.5 during the high-salt period (P < 0.0125). Na+,K+-ATPase activity fell from 162.2 to 141.4 nmol of inorganic phosphate h−1 mg−1 (P < 0.05). Intracellular Na + and intracellular K+ did not change.
4. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that salt-induced volume expansion causes the release of a factor inhibitory to the Na+ pump.