The intrarenal mechanism of action of atrial natriuretic (ANF) remains uncertain. Animal work suggests that part of the natriuretic effect of ANF may be due to inhibition of proximal and distal nephron sodium reabsorption and we now present evidence for similar effects of ANF in man. Six sodium replete normal male volunteers were studied during maximal water diuresis. Lithium clearance was used to assess segmental nephron function. ANF infusion caused a significant increase in fractional lithium clearance (FELi) compared to placebo infusion. A similar change in fractional distal delivery, a conventional marker of proximal tubular outflow, also occurred during ANF infusion independently corroborating the increase in FELi. These findings suggest that ANF inhibits whole-kidney fractional proximal tubular sodium reabsorption in man. Evidence is also presented to show that ANF depresses distal nephron fractional sodium reabsorption as evaluated both by the lithium method and by estimation of solute-free water clearance.