The relation between urinary sodium excretion (NaE) and renal tubular calcium reabsorption (TmCa/GFR) was assessed in patients with hypercalcaemia associated with malignancy and primary hyperparathyroidism. On acute saline loading of seven normally hydrated patients with primary hyperparathyroidism and five patients with malignancy, raised values of TmCa/GFR were reduced to normal in most cases, in association with increases in NaE. The reduction in TmCa/GFR, which occurred, may have been due to a reduction in proximal tubular calcium reabsorption associated with sodium: this would have obscured the effect of humorally mediated increases in distal tubular calcium reabsorption, which are stimulated either by parathyroid hormone or by a putative humoral mediator in hypercalcaemia of malignancy. In patients who were normally hydrated NaE and TmCa/GFR were not significantly correlated. When data were included from patients who were dehydrated and from those undergoing acute saline loading, significant inverse correlations between NaE and TmCa/GFR were observed both in primary hyperparathyroidism (r = -0.49; p less than 0.02) and malignancy (r = -0.60; p less than 0.001). In clinical practice changes in TmCa/GFR associated with sodium seem to be of minor importance under normal circumstances, but they become evident at the upper and lower extremes of urinary sodium excretion. In clinical studies of renal calcium handling urinary sodium excretion must also be assessed, as interpreting TmCa/GFR data is difficult in states of excessive sodium loading or depletion.
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