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Therapie. 1999 Jan-Feb;54(1):147-54.

[Kidney aging: cellular mechanisms of problems of hydration equilibrium].

[Article in French]

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Service de Gérontologie, AP-HP, Hôpital Sainte-Périne, Paris, France.


The ability to control body hydration is frequently impaired with age. This mainly results from changes in thirst and from loss of renal concentrating ability. The cellular mechanisms responsible for this functional renal failure have been extensively studied in different experimental models. Although the loss of nephrons sometimes observed with age impairs the ability of the kidney to retain water, a similar defect was reported in animals free of glomerulosclerosis, indicating that the reduction in the number of nephrons was not the only cause. Because age-related polyuria has also been demonstrated in rats with unchanged secretion of vasopressin, renal changes in water reabsorption was hypothesized. Such alterations have been searched along the whole length of the nephron. Neither the single nephron filtration rate nor proximal or early distal flow rates were modified in senescent animals where water reabsorption in the collecting duct was reduced. The affinity and the density of the V2 receptors were mainly constant in most experimental models of ageing. In contrast, intracellular cAMP accumulation following vasopressin stimulation was reduced in the oldest animals. The expression of aquaporins in luminal and basolateral membranes of the collecting duct epithelial cells was altered. The amount of basolateral aquaporin 3 and 4 was respectively decreased by 50 per cent and unchanged in renal papilla. In addition, the expression of aquaporin 2, which is rate limiting for the osmotic permeability of the collecting duct, was reduced by 50 per cent in the outer medulla and by 80 per cent in the inner medulla of the senescent animals. This drop in aquaporin 2 expression in the distal part of the nephron could be the main cause for the fall in concentrating ability of the kidney and the age-related impaired control of hydration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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