Maturation of renal potassium transport

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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The studies outlined in this review suggest that the immaturity of distal nephron segments may hinder urinary excretion of potassium early in life. Among the factors that may limit potassium secretion by principal cells in the neonatal cortical collecting duct are an unfavorable electrochemical gradient (reduced Ki, Na+-K+-ATPase activity and/or Vte), limited membrane permeability to potassium and sodium, low tubular fluid flow rate, reduced luminal sodium concentration, or increased paracellular backleak. Alternatively, enhanced potassium absorption by other relatively well-differentiated distal nephron segments may contribute in part to a reduced net potassium excretory rate in the newborn. It should be kept in mind, however, that the limited potassium secretory capacity of the immature kidney becomes clinically relevant only under conditions of potassium excess. Under normal circumstances, the tendency of the newborn to retain potassium is an appropriate and necessary condition for growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-269
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes


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