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J Clin Invest. 1967 Mar;46(3):388-99.

Uphill transport of urea in the dog kidney: effects of certain inhibitors.


To study the renal medullary transport and accumulation of urea in dogs independent of water transport, we obliterated the medullary electrolyte gradient by a sustained ethacrynic acid diuresis. Infusions of urea were also given at various rates to vary urinary urea concentration. In the steady state, the kidneys were removed, and slices were analyzed for water, urea, and electrolytes. In every experiment in 15 dogs over a range of urinary urea concentration from 19 to 230 mmoles per L and urine flow from 0.5 to 9.7 ml per minute per kidney, an intrarenal urea gradient persisted, and urinary urea concentration was always lower than papillary water urea concentration. The magnitude of this uphill urinary-papillary gradient (mean +/- SE = - 21 +/- 2.9 mmoles per L) was not affected by hemorrhagic hypotension or a nonprotein diet. In 12 additional experiments begun similarly, inhibitors were infused into one renal artery. Both iodoacetate, an inhibitor of anaerobic glycolysis, and acetamide, an analogue of urea, markedly and significantly reduced both the intrarenal urea gradient and the uphill urinary-papillary gradient. In contrast, cyanide, an inhibitor of oxidative metabolism, had no observable effect on the urea gradients. The data are best explained by postulating an active transport system for urea in the medullary collecting duct deriving its energy from anaerobic glycolysis.

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