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Vascular Consequences of Aldosterone Excess and Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonism

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 1 ]


Sophocles Chrissobolis*   Pages 46 - 56 ( 11 )


Aldosterone binds to mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs) on renal epithelial cells to regulate sodium and water reabsorption, and therefore blood pressure. Recently, the actions of aldosterone outside the kidney have been extensively investigated, with numerous reports of aldosterone having detrimental actions, including in the vasculature. Notably, elevated aldosterone levels are an independent cardiovascular risk factor, and in addition to causing an increase in blood pressure, aldosterone can have blood pressure-dependent and -independent effects commonly manifested in the vasculature in cardiovascular diseases, including oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, remodeling, stiffening, and plaque formation. Receptor-dependent mechanisms mediating these actions include the MR expressed on vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells, but also include the angiotensin II type 1 receptor, epidermal growth factor receptor and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1, with downstream mechanisms including NADPH oxidase, cyclooxygenase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, poly-(ADP ribose) polymerase and placental growth factor. The beneficial actions of MR antagonism in experimental hypertension include improved endothelial function, reduced hypertrophy and remodeling, and in atherosclerosis beneficial actions include reduced plaque area, inflammation, oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction. Aldosterone excess is detrimental and MR antagonism is beneficial in humans also. The emerging concept of the contribution of aldosterone/MR-induced immunity to vascular pathology will also be discussed.


Aldosterone, endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, mineralocorticoid receptor, oxidative stress, remodeling, vasculature.


Ohio Northern University, Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Raabe College of Pharmacy, Ada, Ohio, OH 45810

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