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Concept: Diabetes insipidus


Background: The water deprivation test is the gold standard test to differentiate central or nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (DI) from primary polydipsia (PP) in patients with polyuria and polydipsia. Few studies have addressed the diagnostic performance of this test. Methods: The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the standard water deprivation test, including plasma arginine vasopressin (AVP) measurements, in 40 consecutive patients with polyuria. We compared initial test results to the final clinical diagnosis, i.e., no DI, central DI or nephrogenic DI. Median length of follow up was 8 years. In a subset of 10 patients, the novel marker copeptin (CP) was measured in plasma. Results: Using the final diagnosis as gold standard, a threshold for urine osmolality of > 800 mOsmol/kg after water deprivation yielded a sensitivity and specificity of 96% and 100% for diagnosing PP. Sensitivity increased to 100% if the cut off value for urine osmolalilty was set at 680 mOsmol/kg. Plasma AVP levels did not differ between patient groups and did not differentiate between central DI, nephrogenic DI or PP. In all three patients with central DI, plasma CP was <2.5 pmol/L with plasma osmolality > 290 mOsmol/kg, and >2.5 pmol/L in patients without DI. Conclusions: The optimal cut-off value for differentiating PP from DI during a water deprivation test was urine osmolality > 680 mOsmol/kg. Differentiating between central and nephrogenic DI should be based on clinical judgement since AVP levels did not discriminate.

Concepts: Cohort study, Diabetes mellitus, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Diabetes insipidus, Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus


Diabetes insipidus without perception of thirst, as may follow an anterior communicating artery aneurysm, requires prescription of fluid intake as well as desmopressin. The management goal of maintaining a normal serum sodium is rendered more challenging in a humid subtropical environment, where insensible losses are higher.

Concepts: Earth, Climate, Management, Aneurysm, Diabetes insipidus, Anterior communicating artery, Polydipsia, Durban


The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recently added desmopressin, a synthetic analogue of the endogenous peptide hormone arginine vasopressin, to the Prohibited List, owing to the potential masking effects of this drug on hematic parameters useful to detect blood doping. A qualitative method for detection of desmopressin in human urine by high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) has been developed and validated. Desmopressin purification from urine was achieved by means of delipidation with a 60:40 di-isopropyl ether/n-butanol and solid-phase extraction with WCX cartridges. The lower limit of detection was 25 pg/mL. Extraction recovery was determined as 59.3% (SD 29.4), and signal reduction owing to ion suppression was estimated to be 42.7% (SD 12.9). The applicability of the method was proven by the analysis of real urine samples obtained after intravenous, oral and intranasal administration of desmopressin, achieving unambiguous detection of the peptide in all the cases. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Hormone, Oxytocin, Vasopressin, Diabetes insipidus, Tandem mass spectrometry, Desmopressin, World Anti-Doping Agency


Diabetes insipidus (DI) after endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (ETSS) can lead to increased morbidity, longer hospital stays, and increased medication requirements. Predicting which patients are at high risk for developing DI can help direct services to ensure adequate care and follow-up. The objective of this study was to review our institution’s experience with ETSS and determine which clinical/laboratory variables are associated with DI in this patient population. The authors wanted to see if there was an easily determined single value that would help predict which patients develop DI. This represents the largest North American series of this type. We retrospectively reviewed the charts of patients who had undergone ETSS for resection of sellar and parasellar pathology between 2006 and 2011. We examined patient and tumor characteristics and their relationship to postoperative DI. Out of 172 endoscopic transsphenoidal surgeries, there were 15 cases of transient DI (8.7 %) and 14 cases of permanent DI (8.1 %). Statistically significant predictors of postoperative DI (p < 0.05) included tumor volume and histopathology (Rathke's cleft cyst and craniopharyngioma). Significant indicators of development of DI were postoperative serum sodium, preoperative to postoperative change in sodium level, and urine output prior to administration of 1-deamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin. An increase in serum sodium of ≥2.5 mmol/L is a positive marker of development of DI with 80 % specificity, and a postoperative serum sodium of ≥145 mmol/L is a positive indicator with 98 % specificity. Identifying perioperative risk factors and objective indicators of DI after ETSS will help physicians care for patients postoperatively. In this large series, we demonstrated that there were multiple perioperative risk factors for the development of DI. These findings, which are consistent with other reports from microscopic surgical series, will help identify patients at risk for diabetes insipidus, aid in planning treatment algorithms, and increase vigilance in high risk patients.

Concepts: Hospital, Developmental biology, Surgery, Prediction, Physician, Diabetes insipidus, Craniopharyngioma, Rathke's pouch


Context: The differential diagnosis of diabetes insipidus (DI) is often challenging but essential, because treatment may vary substantially. This article analyzes the database and performance of currently used differential diagnostic tests for DI and discusses future perspectives for diagnostic improvement. Evidence Acquisition: A review of electronic and print data comprising original and review articles retrieved from the PubMed or Cochrane Library database up to January 2012 was conducted. The search term “polyuria polydipsia syndrome” was cross-referenced with underlying forms of disease and associated clinical, diagnostic, and therapeutic MeSH terms. In addition, references from review articles and textbook chapters were screened for papers containing original data. Search results were narrowed to articles containing primary data with a description of criteria for the differential diagnosis of DI. Evidence Synthesis: Fifteen articles on differential diagnosis of DI were identified, mainly consisting of small series of patients, and mostly covering only part of the differential diagnostic spectrum of DI. Test protocols differed, and prospective validation of diagnostic criteria was consistently missing. Inconsistent data were reported on the diagnostic superiority of direct plasma arginine vasopressin determination over the indirect water deprivation test. Both test methods revealed limitations, especially in the differentiation of disorders with a milder phenotype. Conclusion: The available data demonstrate limitations of current biochemical tests for the differential diagnosis of DI, potentially leading to incorrect diagnosis and treatment. The newly available assay for copeptin, the C terminus of the vasopressin precursor, holds promise for a higher diagnostic specificity and simplification of the differential diagnostic protocol in DI.

Concepts: Medical terms, Diabetes mellitus, Diagnosis, Vasopressin, Diabetes insipidus, Polyuria, Polydipsia, Hypernatremia


Abstract Congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) is a rare inherited disorder, mostly caused by AVPR2 mutations. Less than 10% of cases are due to mutations in the aquaporin-2 (AQP2) gene. Diagnosis and management of this condition remain challenging especially during infancy. Here, we report two unrelated patients, a 6-month-old Thai boy and a 5-year-old Emirati girl, with a history of failure to thrive, chronic fever, polydipsia, and polyuria presented in early infancy. The results of water deprivation test were compatible with a diagnosis of NDI. The entire coding regions of the AVPR2 and AQP2 gene were amplified by polymerase chain reaction and sequenced. Patient 1 was homozygous for a novel missense AQP2 mutation p.G96E, inherited from both parents. Patient 2 harbored a previously described homozygous p.T126M mutation in the AQP2 gene. Both patients were treated with a combination of thiazide diuretics and amiloride. Patient 1 developed paradoxical hyponatremia and severe dehydration 2 weeks after medical treatment began. In conclusion, we report a novel mutation of the AQP2 gene and highlight an important role of genetic testing for definite diagnosis. Vigilant monitoring of the fluid status and electrolytes after beginning the therapy is mandatory in infants with NDI.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Mutation, Diabetes mellitus, Dehydration, Diabetes insipidus, Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, Water intoxication


Hypernatremia and polyuria are the main symptoms of diabetes insipidus. Polyuria is characterized by a 24-h urine volume in excess of 40-50 ml/kg in adults. Dexmedetomidine, a highly selective, short-acting intravenous alpha-2 agonist, is used as a component of anesthesia, and has been suspected to induce polyuric syndrome. We report a patient who presented with severe hypernatremia and polyuria after intravenous infusion of dexmedetomidine.

Concepts: Diabetes mellitus, Urine, The Canon of Medicine, Dehydration, Diabetes insipidus, Polyuria, Polydipsia, Hypernatremia


Patients with diabetic nephropathy develop nephrotic syndrome, and may show limited response to conventional therapy. They often require earlier initiation of renal replacement therapy because they become refractory to diuretics, and experience excessive fluid retention. We aimed to investigate the efficacy of tolvaptan, an oral arginine vasopressin type 2 receptor antagonist, in a case series of 14 severe diabetic renal failure patients who were severely refractory to maximal doses of furosemide and had excessive fluid retention despite preserved cardiac function and residual renal function. All 14 patients experienced immediate and sustained water diuretic effects, resulting in alleviation of congestive heart failure. None required initiation of renal replacement therapy. Tolvaptan promptly increased urine volume and free water clearance, reversed progressive fluid retention, and alleviated congestive heart failure. Thus, tolvaptan could serve as a potential adjunct therapy for severe diabetic renal failure patients with excessive fluid retention and congestive heart failure.

Concepts: Renal failure, Kidney, Nephrology, Hypertension, Urine, Renal physiology, Diabetes insipidus, Hypokalemia


Peptide hormones are crucial regulators of many aspects of human physiology. Mutations that alter these signaling peptides are associated with physiological imbalances that underlie diseases. However, the conformational maturation of peptide hormone precursors (prohormones) in the ER remains largely unexplored. Here, we report that conformational maturation of proAVP, the precursor for the antidiuretic hormone arginine-vasopressin, within the ER requires the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) activity of the Sel1L-Hrd1 protein complex. Serum hyperosmolality induces expression of both ERAD components and proAVP in AVP-producing neurons. Mice with global or AVP neuron-specific ablation of Se1L-Hrd1 ERAD progressively developed polyuria and polydipsia, characteristics of diabetes insipidus. Mechanistically, we found that ERAD deficiency causes marked ER retention and aggregation of a large proportion of all proAVP protein. Further, we show that proAVP is an endogenous substrate of Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD. The inability to clear misfolded proAVP with highly reactive cysteine thiols in the absence of Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD causes proAVP to accumulate and participate in inappropriate intermolecular disulfide-bonded aggregates, promoted by the enzymatic activity of protein disulfide isomerase (PDI). This study highlights a pathway linking ERAD to prohormone conformational maturation in neuroendocrine cells, expanding the role of ERAD in providing a conducive ER environment for nascent proteins to reach proper conformation.

Concepts: Protein, Hypothalamus, Diabetes mellitus, Hormone, Receptor, Peptide, Vasopressin, Diabetes insipidus


Healthy kidneys maintain fluid and electrolyte homoeostasis by adjusting urine volume and composition according to physiological needs. The final urine composition is determined in the last tubular segment: the collecting duct. Water permeability in the collecting duct is regulated by arginine vasopressin (AVP). Secretion of AVP from the neurohypophysis is regulated by a complex signalling network that involves osmosensors, barosensors and volume sensors. AVP facilitates aquaporin (AQP)-mediated water reabsorption via activation of the vasopressin V2 receptor (AVPR2) in the collecting duct, thus enabling concentration of urine. In nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI), inability of the kidneys to respond to AVP results in functional AQP deficiency. Consequently, affected patients have constant diuresis, resulting in large volumes of dilute urine. Primary forms of NDI result from mutations in the genes that encode the key proteins AVPR2 and AQP2, whereas secondary forms are associated with biochemical abnormalities, obstructive uropathy or the use of certain medications, particularly lithium. Treatment of the disease is informed by identification of the underlying cause. Here we review the clinical aspects and diagnosis of NDI, the various aetiologies, current treatment options and potential future developments.

Concepts: Nephrology, Urine, Diabetes, Vasopressin, Diabetes insipidus, Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, Arginine vasopressin receptor 2, Aquaporin 2