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We investigated the functional and hemodynamic effects on the kidney of tris (hydroxymethyl) amino methane (THAM) infusion during sustained hemorrhagic hypotension in dogs. The large osmotic load introduced into the vascular compartment during hemorrhagic hypotension resulted in a marked reduction in systemic vascular resistance and a return of cardiac output, total renal blood flow, and the renal arteriographic pattern to normal range. The observed diuresis is probably due to an osmotic effect, because the glomerular filtration rate remains significantly depressed. Anatomical assignment of the mathematical components of the xenon washout curve led to an assessment of intrarenal blood flow distribution that was at variance with the arteriographic pattern and the intrarenal distribution of tagged microspheres.