Increased activity of the renin/aldosterone system in the neonatal period is now well established in both animals and man but the control mechanisms are poorly understood. We have monitored the plasma renin activity (PRA) and plasma aldosterone concentration (PAldo) in 14 infants undergoing 21 exchange transfusions. PRA and PAldo were measured before and at 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes after the injection, and 5, 10, 15, and 30 minutes after the withdrawal of 7 ml blood/kg birthweight immediately before exchange transfusions. PRA increased to a maximum of 53% and decreased to a maximum of 39% of the resting values after withdrawal or injection of blood respectively. PAldo values did not change significantly during the same period. Thus the renin-angiotensin system in the newborn infant is responsive to changes in blood volume.
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