How is diabetes insipidus (DI) defined and characterized?

Updated: Mar 18, 2020
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is defined as the passage of large volumes (>3 L/24 hr) of dilute urine (< 300 mOsm/kg). It has the following 2 major forms:

  • Central (neurogenic, pituitary, or neurohypophyseal) DI, characterized by decreased secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH; also referred to as arginine vasopressin [AVP])

  • Nephrogenic DI, characterized by decreased ability to concentrate urine because of resistance to ADH action in the kidney [1, 2]

Two other forms are gestational DI and primary polydipsia (dipsogenic DI); both are caused by deficiencies in AVP, but the deficiencies do not result from a defect in the neurohypophysis or kidneys.


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