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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1992 Nov;73(5):2036-43.

Effects of acute hypoxia on renal and endocrine function at rest and during graded exercise in hydrated subjects.

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Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Herlev Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


Renal effects of altitude hypoxia are unclear. Renal and hormonal function was investigated in eight males at rest and during graded exercise at sea level (SL) and 48 h after rapid ascent to 4,350 m (HA). HA did not change resting values of effective renal plasma flow (ERPF), glomerular filtration rate (GFR), sodium clearance (CNa), urine flow, or lithium clearance (CLi), which was used as an index of proximal tubular outflow. At rest, HA increased plasma norepinephrine concentration and decreased plasma concentrations of renin and aldosterone. Exercise decreased ERPF similarly in both environments. Normoxic exercise progressively reduced GFR, but at HA GFR only decreased during heavy exercise. This resulted in a higher filtration fraction during light and moderate hypoxic exercise. However, calculated absolute proximal reabsorption rate (GFR-CLi) at HA was higher during low-intensity exercise, and there were no significant differences between exercise-induced decreases in CLi, CNa, and urine flow at HA compared with SL. Exercise gradually increased plasma norepinephrine, but values were higher at HA during light and moderate exercise. The small changes in the renal response to low-intensity hypoxic exercise may be secondary to increased adrenosympathetic activity. However, antidiuretic and antinatriuretic effects of exercise were maintained in hypoxia and in both environments seemed to be the consequence of decreased proximal tubular outflow. The results demonstrate that renal glomerular and tubular function is well preserved in acute hypoxia despite marked hormonal changes.

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