The aim of this study was to investigate whether, in the short term, physiological blood pressure changes are coupled with changes in urinary sodium excretion in normotensive subjects, maintained at fixed sodium intake and under controlled postural and behavioural conditions. Twelve normotensive subjects were recruited. For each subject, seven urine samples were collected at fixed time intervals during an overall 26 h period: late afternoon (16.00–20.00 hours), evening (20.00–24.00 hours), night (24.00–06.00 hours), quiet wakefulness (06.00–09.00 hours), morning (09.00–12.00 hours), post-prandial (12.00–15.00 hours) and afternoon (15.00–18.00 hours). Blood pressure was monitored by an ambulatory blood pressure device during the whole 26 h period. Each urine sample was used to measure urinary sodium excretion and glomerular filtration rate (creatinine clearance). Blood pressure, heart rate, urinary sodium excretion and glomerular filtration rate recorded in the daytime were higher than those measured during the night-time. A significant positive correlation between mean blood pressure and urinary sodium excretion was found during the night, over the whole 26 h period, and during two subperiods of the daytime: quiet wakefulness and the post-prandial period. The coefficient of the pressure–natriuresis curve was significantly decreased by postural changes. We conclude that, in normotensive subjects, blood pressure and urinary sodium excretion are coupled in the short term. The assumption of an upright posture can mask this relationship, presumably by activating neurohumoral factors.

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