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Sodium and Blood Pressure |

Neural Mechanisms of Volume Regulation

GERALD F. DiBONA, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Gerald F. DiBona, M.D.; Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa College of Medicine and Veterans Administration Medical Center; Iowa City, IA 52242.


© 1983 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1983;98(5_Part_2):750-752. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-98-5-750
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Under steady-state conditions, urinary sodium excretion matches dietary sodium intake. Because extracellular fluid osmolality is tightly regulated, the quantity of sodium in the extracellular fluid determines the volume of this compartment. The left atrial volume receptor mechanism is an example of a neural mechanism of volume regulation. The left atrial mechanoreceptor, which functions as a sensor in the low-pressure vascular system, has a well-defined compliance relating intravascular volume to filling pressure and responds to changes in wall tension by discharging into afferent vagal fibers. These fibers have appropriate central nervous system representation whose related efferent neurohumoral mechanisms regulate thirst, renal excretion of water and sodium, and the redistribution of the extracellular fluid volume.

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