The limited renal concentration performance by the immature kidney traditionally is thought to be attributed to blunted renal response to arginine vasopressin (AVP) and medullary hypotonicity. The diminished AVP-dependent osmotic water permeability of the collecting duct is the result of decreased AVP binding and adenylate cyclase activation, and low expression of aquaporin-2 (AQP2) mRNA and low levels of AQP2 protein. Moreover, the immature kidney fails to establish deep cortico-papillary osmotic gradient because of structural immaturity, limited solute transport and increased medullary blood flow. Based on indirect clinical and experimental evidences this article puts forward a hypothesis that during perinatal period the abundant hyaluronan (HA) content in the renomedullary interstitium has a primary role in antagonizing water reabsorption and limiting concentration performance. Hydration-related alterations in renal HA appears to be mediated by antidiuretic hormone. The concept of HA-mediated renal water transport may imply that interfering selectively with renal HA metabolism may provide a new therapeutic approach to promote diuresis or antidiuresis, respectively, according to the elevation or reduction in renomedullary HA.
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