1. Eight nephrotic patients were studied in order to evaluate the effects of acute changes in renal plasma flow and glomerular filtration rate on renal solute and water handling, in the absence of plasma volume expansion.
2. The subjects were studied first after the administration of captopril, a manoeuvre that increased renal plasma flow without a significant change in glomerular filtration rate, and a second time after receiving combined therapy with captopril and ibuprofen, a manoeuvre that decreased glomerular filtration rate without a significant change in renal plasma flow.
3. After captopril therapy, despite the increase in renal plasma flow, there was no significant change in proximal sodium reabsorption (as estimated from fractional lithium reabsorption), urine volume or urine osmolality.
4. The decrease in glomerular filtration rate observed after the administration of captopril plus ibuprofen was associated with decreases in fractional excretion of sodium and urine volume, and an increase in urine osmolality. The changes in these parameters of tubular function were proportionate to the changes in glomerular filtration rate. Fractional proximal sodium reabsorption increased substantially.
5. These observations suggest that, in the absence of plasma volume expansion, an increase in renal plasma flow does not increase sodium or water excretion by the nephrotic kidney. Moreover, during acute decreases in glomerular filtration rate, glomerulotubular balance appears to be disrupted, resulting in disproportionately high rates of proximal tubule sodium reabsorption.