Osmotic diuretics works by increasing blood flow to the kidney. This washes out the cortical medullary gradient in the kidney. This stops the loop of Henle from concentrating urine, which usually uses the high osmotic and solute gradient to transport solutes and water.
These agents can also act at other parts of the body. For example, mannitol can be used to reduce intracranial pressure.
Physiological working of osmotic diuretics
The renal proximal tubule is the primary site of action of osmotic diuretics.
Normally, water molecules follow Na+ out of the proximal tubule, resulting in Na+ and water reabsorption. When osmotic diuretics are introduced, they hold onto water molecules in the tubule. Since the luminal membrane is quite leaky to Na+, this causes a high back leak of Na+ into the tubule.
Na+ is normally followed by K+ and Cl- out of the proximal tubule. When there is high back leak of Na+, these electrolytes stay in the tubule and are lost through urine.
Note: Glucose is completely reabsorbed by the kidneys but not Mannitol.
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- osmotic diuretic at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
- "Mannitol". Retrieved 2008-12-20.
- Trevor, Anthony J.; Katzung, Bertram G. (2003). Pharmacology. New York: Lange Medical Books/McGraw-Hill, Medical Publishing Division. p. 46. ISBN 0-07-139930-5.
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