Renal phosphate excretion is subjected to circadian rhythmicity. The bulk of filtered inorganic phosphate (P(i)) is reabsorbed by the sodium-dependent phosphate cotransporter NaPi-IIa. The regulation of proximal tubular phosphate reabsorptive capacity is largely attributed to the altered abundance of NaPi-IIa residing in the brush border membrane (BBM) of proximal tubular cells. Therefore, we examined if the diurnal rise in renal phosphate excretion is accompanied by a corresponding change in NaPi-IIa expression. Renal phosphate excretion, creatinine clearance, and serum phosphate were determined at consecutive time points in rats, starting from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. During this period, renal phosphate excretion (fractional P(i) excretion) increased more than eightfold until 5 p.m. compared to the morning values at 8 a.m. In addition, serum phosphate and creatinine clearance as well as the calculated tubular phosphate threshold increased. Neither immunoblot analysis of BBMs nor immunohistochemical staining for NaPi-IIa yielded evidence for a lower abundance of NaPi-IIa in kidneys collected in the afternoon compared to those in the morning. However, kidneys sampled in the afternoon showed a small decrease (14%) in (32)P uptakes into BBM vesicles (BBMVs). Thus, the diurnal rise in renal phosphate excretion was associated with a mild reduction in the sodium-dependent phosphate transport rate in proximal tubular BBMs. There was no apparent downregulation of NaPi-IIa abundance and only a small reduction in Na(+)-dependent Pi-transport activity. Thus, the diurnal changes in urinary phosphate excretion appear to be mainly related to changes in serum phosphate and tubular threshold but not to NaPi-IIa expression.