The pathway of vasopressin as a pharmacological target in nephrology: a narrative review


ADH is a hormone secreted by neurohypophysis that plays different roles based on the target organ. At the renal level, this peptide is capable of causing electrolyte-free water absorption, thus playing a key role in the hydro-electrolytic balance. There are pathologies and disorders that jeopardize this balance and, in this field, ADH receptor inhibitors such as Vaptans could play a key role. By inhibiting the activation pathway of vasopressin, they are potentially useful in euvolemic and hypervolemic hypotonic hyponatremia. However, clinical trials in heart failure have not given favourable results on clinical outcomes. Even in SIADH, despite their wide use, there is no agreement by experts on their use.

Since vaptans inhibit the cAMP pathway in tubular cells, their use has been proposed to inhibit cystogenesis. A clinical trial has shown favourable effects on ADPKD progression.

Because vaptans have been shown to be effective in models of renal cysts disorders other than ADPKD, their use has been proposed in diseases such as nephronophthisis and recessive autosomal polycystic disease. Other possible uses of vaptans could be in kidney transplantation and cardiorenal syndrome.

Due to the activity of ADH in coagulation and haemostasis, ADH’s activation pathway by Desmopressin Acetate could be a useful strategy to reduce the risk of bleeding in biopsies in patients with haemorrhagic risk.


Keyword: vasopressin, vaptans, hyponatremia, ADPKD, biopsy

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italian.