Background/Aims: To evaluate the effects of neonatal handling on hydroelectrolytic balance in adult rats. Methods: The litters were divided into two groups: nonhandled and handled. The procedure consisted of handling the pups for 1 min/day in the first 10 days postnatally. When adults, animals had their body weight verified and were housed in individual metabolic cages. After a 24-hour period, urine samples were collected and the urinary and water intake volumes measured. Blood samples to determine osmolality, aldosterone, corticosterone, angiotensin II, creatinine, urea, sodium and potassium levels were collected. The kidneys were removed for histological assessment. Urinary osmolality, sodium, urea and creatinine were also measured and the creatinine clearance (CC) calculated. Results: No difference between groups was found in the body weight. Handled animals showed a reduction in the total kidney wet weight, water intake, urinary volume, CC, plasma angiotensin II, corticosterone and aldosterone when compared to the nonhandled and an increase in the urinary osmolality and sodium excretion fraction. No differences in serum potassium and no evidence of structural changes were demonstrated by histological analysis. Conclusion: Neonatal handling induced long-lasting effects decreasing renal function without evidence of kidney structural changes.

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