Although angiotensin II is one of the most powerful sodium- and water-retaining hormones in the body, neither a decrease nor an increase in circulating angiotensin II has a large effect on extracellular fluid volume or blood volume. The reason for this is that with large increases in angiotensin II levels, as occurs with a renin-secreting tumor of the kidney, the high angiotensin II levels initially cause sodium and water retention by the kidneys and a small increase in extracellular fluid volume. This also initiates a rise in arterial pressure that quickly increases kidney output of sodium and water, thereby overcoming the sodium- and water-retaining effects of the angiotensin II and re-establishing a balance between intake and output of sodium at a higher blood pressure. Conversely, after blockade of angiotensin II formation, as occurs when an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor is administered, there is initial loss of sodium and water, but the fall in blood pressure offsets this effect, and sodium excretion is once again restored to normal.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.