Endocrine Abstracts (2004) 7 P151

Downward resetting of the osmotic threshold for thirst in patients with syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone

D Smith1, K Moore1, W Tormey2, PH Baylis3 & CJ Thompson1


1Department of Endocrinology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; 2Department of Chemical Pathology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; 3Department of Endocrinology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK.


The syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) is characterised by euvolamic hyponatraemia. Patients with SIADH continue to drink normal amounts of fluid, despite plasma osmolalities well below the physiological osmotic threshold for the onset of thirst. The regulation of thirst has not been previously studied in SIADH. We studied the characteristics of osmotically-stimulated thirst and vasopressin (AVP) secretion, and the non-osmotic suppression of thirst and AVP during drinking in eight subjects with SIADH and eight healthy controls. Subjects underwent a two hour infusion of hypertonic (855mmol/l) sodium chloride solution, followed by 30 minutes of free access to water. Thirst was assessed using a linear 10cm visual analogue scale. Thirst rose significantly in both SIADH (1.2+/-0.5 to 7.4+/-1.8cm, p<0.0001) and controls (1.4+/-1.1 to 8.1+/-1.5cm, p<0.0001), but the osmotic threshold for thirst was lower in SIADH (264.0+/-5.5 vs 285.9+/-2.8mOsm/kg, p<0.0001). SIADH subjects drank similar volumes of water to controls following cessation of the infusion (948.8+/-207.6 vs 1,091+/-184mls, p=0.23). Drinking suppressed thirst in both SIADH and controls, but did not suppress plasma AVP concentrations in SIADH compared to controls (p=0.007). We conclude that there is a downward resetting of the osmotic threshold for thirst in SIADH, but that thirst responds to osmotic stimulation, and is suppressed by drinking, around the lowered set point. In addition, drinking does not completely suppress plasma AVP in SIADH.

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