Sodium, renin, aldosterone, catecholamines, and blood pressure in diabetes mellitus

De Châtel, Rudolf; Weidmann, Peter; Flammer, Josef; Ziegler, Walter H.; Beretta-Piccoli, Carlo; Vetter, Wilhelm; Reubi, François C.
December 1977
Kidney International;Dec1977, Vol. 12 Issue 6, p412
Academic Journal
Interrelations among plasma renin activity (PRA), aldosterone and cortisol levels, blood volume, exchangeable sodium, urinary catecholamines, and biood pressure were studied in 35 normal subjects and 60 age-matched non-azotemic patients with diabetes mellitus (60% with hypertension, 15% with orthostatic hypotension). Basal PRA, plasma aldosterone, cortisol, blood volume, plasma potassium, and urinary electrolytes were comparable in diabetic and normal subjects. Diabetic patients, however, had a 10% increase in body sodium (P < 0.01), and 8% of them showed normal postural PRA responses and subnormal aldosterone responses; 22% had subnormal PRA and normal aldosterone responses, and 17%had subnormal responses of PRA and aldosterone. Non-PRA-related aldosterone responses could not be explained by ACTH or electrolytes. Orthostatic decreases in blood pressure correlated (P < 0.01) with both catecholamine excretion and basal PRA. This suggests that in diabetes mellitus, body sodium is increased. Basal PRA and plasma aldosterone are usually normal, but their postural responses are frequently impaired. Absent aldosterone responses, despite normal PRA responsiveness, may reflect an adrenal abnormality or an ineffective form of renin. Marked postural aldosterne stimulation, unrelated to PRA, ACTH, or electrolytes, points to a potent unknown factor in aldosterone control. Low levels of free peripheral catecholamines and PRA may be complementary factors contributing to postural hypotension.


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