Antidiuretic Hormone – Its Connection to Diabetes Insipidus

Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) plays an important role in the development of diabetes insipidus. If you have been diagnosed with this disease or know someone who has, then you will want to learn more about this hormone.

Diabetes insipidus is a condition characterized by excessive thirst and the output of large amounts of urine. Most cases of diabetes insipidus are caused by a problem in the production, storage or release of antidiuretic hormone. But, diabetes insipidus can also be due to your kidneys not being able to properly respond to this key hormone.

Antidiuretic hormone is know by different names such as arginine vasopressin (AVP), argipressin or vasopressin; however the name antidiuretic hormone does the best job of describing the hormone’s function in your body.

A diuretic is anything that increases the output of urine by the kidneys. Anti-diuretic literally means to go against (anti) increased urine output (diuretic). Therefore when ADH is turned off or inhibited you will urinate more frequently.

This is what happens in most commonly in diabetes insipidus, there is a lack of antidiuretic hormone due to damage to the gland that stores the hormone (the pituitary gland) or for an unknown reason ADH is not produced adequately and excess urination results and can lead to dehydration of the body.

"One of the most important roles of AVP is to regulate the body's retention of water; it is released when the body is dehydrated and causes the kidneys to conserve water, thus concentrating the urine, and reducing urine volume"(1).

ADH is an important regulator of fluid amounts in your body. When it is not present in sufficient amounts or it is not handled properly by your kidneys, the condition diabetes insipidus can develop.

ADH is produced in the hypothalamus and stored in the pituitary gland until it is needed. If your body is functioning properly, this hormone is released when your body shows the need to retain fluids.

In many cases of diabetes insipidus a synthetic hormone called desmopressin can be taken to replace the insufficient natural hormone. This synthetic drug is not right for all types of diabetes insipidus, as it may cause the retention of too much fluid in the body.

(1) Wikipedia (2010). Vasopressin. Retrieved from


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