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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Jan;90(1):386-94. Epub 2004 Oct 14.

Responses to a saline load in gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist-pretreated premenopausal women receiving progesterone or estradiol-progesterone therapy.

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John B. Pierce Laboratory, Department of Epidemiology, Yale University School of Medicine an Women and Infants Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut 06519, USA.


The effects of estradiol (E(2)) and progesterone (P(4)) on fluid and sodium regulation may have important clinical implications with respect to cardiovascular and renal disease as well as reproductive syndromes such as preeclampsia and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. We tested the hypothesis that sodium excretion is reduced in response to a sodium load during combined P(4)-E(2) treatment, but P(4) administration alone has little effect on sodium regulation. Fifteen women (22 +/- 2 yr) used a GnRH antagonist to suppress endogenous E(2) and P(4) for 9 d; for d 4-9, eight subjects used P(4) (200 mg/d), and seven subjects used P(4) with E(2) (two E(2) patches, 0.1 mg/d each). On d 3 and 9, isotonic saline (0.9% NaCl) was infused [120 min at 0.1 ml/kg body weight (BW).min], followed by 120 min of rest. Compared with GnRH antagonist alone, P([P4]) increased from 1.6 +/- 0.8 to 9.4 +/- 2.3 ng/ml (5.1 +/- 2.5 to 29.9 +/- 7.3 nmol/liter, P < 0.05) in the P(4) treated group, with no change in P([E2]). In the P(4)-E(2) treated group P([P4]) increased from 1.6 +/- 0.5 to 6.7 +/- 0.6 ng/ml (5.1 +/- 1.6 to 21.3 +/- 1.6 nmol/liter, P < 0.05 and P([E2]) increased from 17.9 +/- 6.3 to 200 +/- 41 pg/ml (65.7 +/- 23 to 734.6 +/- 150.0 pmol/liter, P < 0.05). Before isotonic saline infusion, renal sodium and water excretion were similar under all conditions, but during isotonic saline infusion, cumulative sodium excretion was lower in the P(4)-E(2) treated women (34.1 +/- 5.1 mEq) compared with GnRH antagonist (50.2 +/- 11.4 mEq). Sodium excretion was unaffected by P(4) treatment (48.0 +/- 8.2 and 41.2 +/- 5.1 mEq, for GnRH antagonist and P(4)). Compared with GnRH antagonist alone, P(4)-E(2) treatment increased distal sodium reabsorption and transiently decreased proximal sodium reabsorption, whereas P(4) treatment did not alter either distal or proximal sodium reabsorption. Before isotonic saline infusion, the plasma aldosterone (Ald) concentration was greater during P(4) treatment (153 +/- 25 pg/ml; 3883 +/- 1102 pmol/liter) and P(4)-E(2) treatment (242 +/- 47 pg/ml; 6373 +/- 1390 pmol/liter) than during their respective GnRH antagonist alone treatments [96 +/- 13 and 148 +/- 47 pg/ml (2598 +/- 475 and 3284 +/- 973 pmol/liter) for P(4) and combined P(4)-E(2), respectively]. Compared with GnRH antagonist alone treatments, preisotonic saline infusion plasma renin activity was greater only with P(4)-E(2) treatment, whereas the plasma atrial natriuretic peptide concentration was lower only with P(4) treatment. Isotonic saline infusion suppressed plasma Ald under all conditions, but decreased plasma renin activity only with P(4)-E(2) treatment (average decrease, 1.3 +/- 0.5 ng/ml angiotensin I.h; P < 0.05). In summary, we found that P(4)-E(2) treatment decreased sodium excretion via either renin-angiotensin-Ald system stimulation or direct effects on kidney tubules. P(4) treatment at these plasma concentrations had no independent effect on the renal response to acute sodium loading. These data suggest that E(2) is the more powerful reproductive hormone involved in sodium retention relative to P(4), and that estrogen-induced up-regulation of P(4) receptors is required for the effects of P(4) on sodium regulation.

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