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Am J Physiol. 1994 May;266(5 Pt 2):F756-61.

Protein restriction sequentially induces new urea transport processes in rat initial IMCD.

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Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.


We reported that feeding rats 8% protein for 4 wk induces two new urea transport processes in initial inner medullary collecting ducts (IMCD); neither is present in rats fed 18% protein. In this study, we measured the time course of induction of these transporters in perfused initial IMCD segments from rats fed 8% protein. Net urea flux was induced after 3 wk, whereas vasopressin-stimulated passive urea permeability (P(urea)) was induced after 2 wk. 8-Bromoadenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (8-BrcAMP) significantly increased P(urea)); adding vasopressin did not increase P(urea) further. In fact, there was no difference in vasopressin-stimulated cAMP production in initial or terminal IMCD segments from rats fed 18% or 8% protein, suggesting that the adaptive response was not due to increased cAMP production. Glucagon did not change cAMP production or P(urea). Specificity of the response was suggested because neither aldose reductase nor sorbitol dehydrogenase activity changed with feeding 8% protein. Thus 1) in initial IMCD segments, vasopressin-stimulated P(urea) is induced after 2 wk, but net urea flux requires 3 wk of feeding 8% protein; 2) this adaptation is not solely due to a higher rate of cAMP production; and 3) specificity of the adaptive response is suggested because activities of enzymes responding to decreases in concentrating ability are unchanged. These results suggest that two distinct urea transporters may be involved in the adaptation to a low-protein diet.

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