1. Urinary kallikrein excretion in the anaesthetized rat was measured during intravenous KCl infusion in control and in K+-adapted rats.
2. The infusion of 0.1 mol/l KCl at 3.0 ml/h for 60 min in control rats resulted in a significant increase in urinary kallikrein excretion, associated with diuresis, natriuresis and kaliuresis.
3. When rats were offered 0.1 mol/l KCl to drink ad libitum for 14 days (K+-adaptation), the basal excretion of kallikrein was higher than in the control rats. In K+-adapted rats, intravenous infusion of 0.1 mol/l KCl resulted in significantly greater increase in urinary kallikrein excretion than in the control rats.
4. The Na+-channel blocker, amiloride (8.5 mg/kg body weight), significantly increased urinary kallikrein excretion immediately after injection in control and K+-adapted rats. However, in the subsequent 60 min, kallikrein excretion decreased markedly to values lower than those before injection of amiloride.
5. When amiloride was superimposed on a continuous 0.1 mol/l KCl infusion in K+-adapted rats, there was an immediate increase in kallikrein excretion. In the subsequent 20 min, kallikrein excretion decreased only to increase again in the next 40 min of KCl infusion.
6. Since amiloride injection reduces urinary kallikrein excretion in control and K+-adapted rats, the results suggest that urinary kallikrein excretion in the rat is through a mechanism(s) affected by amiloride. The high urinary kallikrein excretion and the greater response to KCl infusion in K+-adapted rats suggest that the K+-transport mechanism is more important than the mechanism affected by amiloride.