1. Renal and systemic responses to infusion of angiotensin II (1.25 and 2.5 ng min−1 kg−1 body weight) were examined in ten normal males 12 h after single doses of 750 mg of lithium carbonate, 250 mg of lithium carbonate (n = 6) or placebo.

2. Baseline mean arterial pressure [mean (sem)] was higher after 750 mg of lithium [93.1 (1.7) versus 89.5 (1.9) mmHg, P = 0.014], and the subsequent rise in blood pressure during angiotensin II infusion was lower [8.2 (1.8) versus 12.2 (2.4) mmHg, P < 0.02].

3. Lithium at a dose of 750 mg increased overnight urinary sodium excretion before the study. The fall in fractional sodium excretion during angiotensin II infusion was reduced after pretreatment with 750 mg of lithium [750 mg of lithium, 2.73 (0.24) to 1.34 (0.08)%; placebo, 2.69 (0.26) to 1.01 (0.11)%; P=0.02]. The increases in effective filtration fraction [750 mg of lithium, 5.4 (1.0)%; placebo, 8.6 (0.7)%; P < 0.05] and total effective renal vascular resistance [750 mg of lithium, 3700 (390) dyn s cm−5; placebo 5100 (460) dyn s cm−5; P=0.03] during angiotensin II infusion were also attenuated after 750 mg of lithium. Responses after 250 mg of lithium did not differ from those after placebo.

4. The fall in plasma renin activity and the increase in plasma aldosterone concentration during angiotensin II infusion were similar on each study day.

5. Renal responses to exogenous angiotensin II are altered after pretreatment with a 750 mg dose of lithium in normal man. This dose of lithium is not an inert marker of sodium handling.

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