Sodium chloride, better known as salt, is vital for the organism, and the kidneys play a crucial role in the regulation of sodium balance. However, the underlying mechanisms of sodium balance are not yet completely understood. Researchers of the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, Charite - Universitatsmedizin Berlin and the University of Kiel have now deciphered the function of a gene in the kidney and have thus gained new insights into this complex regulation process (PNAS Early Edition, doi/10.1073/pnas.1203834109)*.

In humans, the kidneys filter around 1700 liters of blood every day, of which 180 liters are collected as primary urine and ultimately one to two liters of urine are excreted. The kidneys thus wash toxic waste products out of the body, but retain some useful substances and reintroduce them into the body, thus simultaneously regulating the salt and water balance.

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