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Nitric Oxide. 2020 Apr 1;97:16-19. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2020.01.011. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Renal nitrate clearance in chronic kidney disease.

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NIHR Exeter Clinical Research Facility, University of Exeter Medical School, Barrack Road, EX2 5AX, UK.
NIHR Exeter Clinical Research Facility, University of Exeter Medical School, Barrack Road, EX2 5AX, UK. Electronic address:



Nitric oxide (NO) is rapidly oxidised in humans to nitrite and nitrate, with nitrate being present in much greater abundance. These oxidation products can be recycled back into nitric oxide via a complex entero-salivary pathway, thus preserving NO activity. Approximately 65% of circulating nitrate is excreted in the urine in 48 h, with the excretory pathway of the remainder unknown. The effect of declining renal function on nitrate clearance is unknown METHODS: Forty five subjects, 21 M, 24F, median age 69 (range 27-75 years) with renal function assessed by CKD-EPI eGFR between 9 and 89 ml/min/1.73 m2 completed the study. Following a 24 h low nitrate diet a microplate spectrophotometric method was employed to measure plasma nitrate concentration and 24 h urinary nitrate excretion were measured to determine renal nitrate clearance.


There was a strong positive correlation between urinary nitrate clearance and eGFR, (Spearman R = 0.7665, p < 0.0001) with a moderate negative correlation between plasma nitrate concentration and CKD-EPI eGFR, (Spearman's R = -0.37, p = 0.012). There was a trend between fractional excretion of nitrate and CKD-EPI eGFR (ml/min/1.73 m2) Spearman's R 0.27, p = 0.07 though this did not reach statistical significance. Plasma nitrate concentration and serum creatinine concentration were positively correlated, Spearman's R = 0.39, p = 0.008.


We have observed a strong positive association between renal nitrate clearance and renal function such that plasma nitrate rises as renal function falls. Fractional excretion of nitrate appears to decline as renal function falls. As such, urinary nitrate excretion is unlikely to be a reliable marker of endogenous NO synthesis in settings where renal function is altered.


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