Aldosterone is a steroid hormone synthesized in and secreted from the outer layer of the adrenal cortex, the zona glomerulosa. Aldosterone is responsible for regulating sodium homeostasis, thereby helping to control blood volume and blood pressure. Insufficient aldosterone secretion can lead to hypotension and circulatory shock, particularly in infancy. On the other hand, excessive aldosterone levels, or those too high for sodium status, can cause hypertension and exacerbate the effects of high blood pressure on multiple organs, contributing to renal disease, stroke, visual loss, and congestive heart failure. Aldosterone is also thought to directly induce end-organ damage, including in the kidneys and heart. Because of the significance of aldosterone to the physiology and pathophysiology of the cardiovascular system, it is important to understand the regulation of its biosynthesis and secretion from the adrenal cortex. Herein, the mechanisms regulating aldosterone production in zona glomerulosa cells are discussed, with a particular emphasis on signaling pathways involved in the secretory response to the main controllers of aldosterone production, the renin-angiotensin II system, serum potassium levels and adrenocorticotrophic hormone. The signaling pathways involved include phospholipase C-mediated phosphoinositide hydrolysis, inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate, cytosolic calcium levels, calcium influx pathways, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases, diacylglycerol, protein kinases C and D, 12-hydroxyeicostetraenoic acid, phospholipase D, mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways, tyrosine kinases, adenylate cyclase, and cAMP-dependent protein kinase. A complete understanding of the signaling events regulating aldosterone biosynthesis may allow the identification of novel targets for therapeutic interventions in hypertension, primary aldosteronism, congestive heart failure, renal disease, and other cardiovascular disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)