1. The response of the isolated rat kidney to a mixed amino acid solution was examined in the presence of three renal autacoid inhibitors, indomethacin (a cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor), sulpiride (a dopamine antagonist) and l-nitroarginine methyl ester (an inhibitor of nitric oxide synthesis).
2. Increasing the concentration of the mixed amino acid solution perfusing the kidney from 2 to 8 mmol/l (n = 6) produced a sustained increase in renal perfusate flow (P < 0.01) and reversed the time-dependent fall in [14C]inulin clearance (P < 0.01) demonstrated in kidneys perfused with 2 mmol/l mixed amino acids alone. A significant increase in the fractional sodium reabsorption and decrease in the fractional albumin excretion was also observed.
3. Indomethacin (10−4 mol/l, n = 6) produced partial (50%) inhibition of the effect of mixed amino acids on [14C]inulin clearance, but did not influence their ability to increase renal perfusate flow.
4. Sulpiride (0.7 μmol min−1 kg−1, n = 6) produced partial inhibition of the effect of mixed amino acids on both [14C]inulin clearance and renal perfusate flow by 60% and 50%, respectively. Sulpiride also entirely inhibited the reduction in fractional albumin excretion.
5. l-Nitroarginine methyl ester (10−4 mol/l, n = 6) completely inhibited the effect of mixed amino acids on [14C]inulin clearance, but did not inhibit the increase in renal perfusate flow, even though the basal vascular resistance was markedly enhanced. l-Nitroarginine methyl ester also inhibited the increase in fractional sodium reabsorption produced by the mixed amino acids.
6. It is concluded that prostaglandins, dopamine and nitric oxide may all have a role to play in the direct effect of mixed amino acids on renal function. This does not, however, preclude further modification by additional stimuli generated in vivo.