Jennifer L. Pluznick* and Michael J. Caplan†


In order to assess the status of the volume and composition of the body fluid compartment, the kidney monitors a wide variety of chemical and physical parameters. It has recently become clear that the kidney’s sensory capacity extends well beyond its ability to sense ion concentrations in the forming urine. The kidney also keeps track of organic metabolites derived from a surprising variety of sources and uses a complex interplay of physical and chemical sensing mechanisms to measure the rate of fluid flow in the nephron. Recent research has provided new insights into the nature of these sensory mechanisms and their relevance to renal function.