The aim of this study was to evaluate the determinants of kidney function and the role of heritable factors in a sample of 249 siblings free from known cardiovascular disease and without antihypertensive drugs belonging to 110 families. Four different measures and estimates of kidney function were considered. Blood pressure was recorded during 24 h by ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. Heritability was estimated with and without adjustment for significant covariates.In multivariate analysis, in addition to age, sex, BMI, HDL-cholesterol, 24-h systolic and mean blood pressure, systolic nocturnal blood pressure dipping resulted independently related to serum creatinine, estimated Cockcroft-Gault-creatinine clearance and estimated by the modification of diet in renal disease-glomerular filtration rate. After full adjustment, the heritability values were 51% for the measured creatinine clearance (P < 0.01), 58% for the estimated Cockcroft-Gault-creatinine clearance (P < 0.001), 40% for the estimated by the modification of diet in renal disease-glomerular filtration rate (P < 0.001), but 8% (P = 0.34) for serum creatinine.Our data confirm that kidney function is partially under genetic control and that genetic variants of importance for this trait could be mapped. The association of the circadian rhythm of blood pressure with kidney function in this sample deserves further investigation.