The effect of chronic dietary sodium intake on fasting and postprandial plasma atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) levels was examined in 2 studies of normal humans. In Study I, 3 separate groups of normals (n = 8 for each) received diets of either low (L), normal (N) or high (H) daily sodium intake for 7 days. Twenty-four h urines for sodium were obtained on days 6 and 7. Urine sodium excretion for each group was (L) 13.1 +/- 3.7, (N) 150.1 +/- 19.4 and (H) 271.3 +/- 33.6 mEq/day. On the completion of day 7, fasting plasma ANF showed no change with alteration in sodium intake. In contrast, when blood samples were obtained postprandially, significant increases in plasma ANF were observed in the group maintained on high sodium diet. In Study II, a continuous group of normals (n = 8) received the 3 sodium controlled diets for 7 days sequentially (L/N/H). No significant changes in fasting levels of ANF were detected between L/N/H sodium diets. In conclusion, these studies show that the maintenance of sodium balance during chronic changes in sodium intake can occur despite no significant increase in plasma ANF under normal steady state conditions. However, plasma ANF is significantly elevated during chronic high sodium intake, when measured postprandially.
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