Aldosterone receptor antagonists: current perspectives and therapies.
ABSTRACT: Aldosterone is a downstream effector of angiotensin II in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and binds to the mineralocorticoid receptor. The classical view of aldosterone primarily acting at the level of the kidneys to regulate plasma potassium and intravascular volume status is being supplemented by evidence of new "off-target" effects of aldosterone in other organ systems. The genomic effects of aldosterone are well known, but there is also evidence for non-genomic effects and these recently identified effects of aldosterone have required a revision in the traditional view of aldosterone's role in human health and disease. The aim of this article is to review the biological action of aldosterone and the mineralocorticoid receptor leading to subsequent physiologic and pathophysiologic effects involving the vasculature, central nervous system, heart, and kidneys. Furthermore, we outline current evidence evaluating the use of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists in the treatment of primary aldosteronism, primary hypertension, resistant hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease.
Project description:Angiotensin II causes cardiovascular injury in part by aldosterone-induced mineralocorticoid receptor activation, and it can also activate the mineralocorticoid receptor in the absence of aldosterone in vitro. Here we tested whether endogenous aldosterone contributes to angiotensin II/salt-induced cardiac, vascular, and renal injury by the mineralocorticoid receptor. Aldosterone synthase knockout mice and wild-type littermates were treated with angiotensin II or vehicle plus the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist spironolactone or regular diet while drinking 0.9% saline. Angiotensin II/salt caused hypertension in both the knockout and wild-type mice, an effect significantly blunted in the knockout mice. Either genetic aldosterone deficiency or mineralocorticoid receptor antagonism reduced cardiac hypertrophy, aortic remodeling, and albuminuria, as well as cardiac, aortic, and renal plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 mRNA expression during angiotensin II treatment. Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonism reduced angiotensin II/salt-induced glomerular hypertrophy, but aldosterone deficiency did not. Combined mineralocorticoid receptor antagonism and aldosterone deficiency reduced blood urea nitrogen and restored nephrin immunoreactivity. Angiotensin II/salt also promoted glomerular injury through the mineralocorticoid receptor in the absence of aldosterone. Thus, mineralocorticoid antagonism may have protective effects in the kidney beyond aldosterone synthase inhibition.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: Recently, we could show that angiotensin II, the reactive peptide of the blood pressure-regulating renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system, causes the formation of reactive oxygen species and DNA damage in kidneys and hearts of hypertensive mice. To further investigate on the one hand the mechanism of DNA damage caused by angiotensin II, and on the other hand possible intervention strategies against end-organ damage, the effects of substances interfering with the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone-system on angiotensin II-induced genomic damage were studied. METHODS: In C57BL/6-mice, hypertension was induced by infusion of 600 ng/kg • min angiotensin II. The animals were additionally treated with the angiotensin II type 1 receptor blocker candesartan, the mineralocorticoid receptor blocker eplerenone and the antioxidant tempol. DNA damage and the activation of transcription factors were studied by immunohistochemistry and protein expression analysis. RESULTS: Administration of angiotensin II led to a significant increase of blood pressure, decreased only by candesartan. In kidneys and hearts of angiotensin II-treated animals, significant oxidative stress could be detected (1.5-fold over control). The redox-sensitive transcription factors Nrf2 and NF-?B were activated in the kidney by angiotensin II-treatment (4- and 3-fold over control, respectively) and reduced by all interventions. In kidneys and hearts an increase of DNA damage (3- and 2-fold over control, respectively) and of DNA repair (3-fold over control) was found. These effects were ameliorated by all interventions in both organs. Consistently, candesartan and tempol were more effective than eplerenone. CONCLUSION: Angiotensin II-induced DNA damage is caused by angiotensin II type 1 receptor-mediated formation of oxidative stress in vivo. The angiotensin II-mediated physiological increase of aldosterone adds to the DNA-damaging effects. Blocking angiotensin II and mineralocorticoid receptors therefore has beneficial effects on end-organ damage independent of blood pressure normalization.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Adrenal aldosterone excess is the most common cause of secondary hypertension and is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity. However, adverse metabolic risk in primary aldosteronism extends beyond hypertension, with increased rates of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis, which cannot be easily explained by aldosterone excess. METHODS:We performed mass spectrometry-based analysis of a 24-hour urine steroid metabolome in 174 newly diagnosed patients with primary aldosteronism (103 unilateral adenomas, 71 bilateral adrenal hyperplasias) in comparison to 162 healthy controls, 56 patients with endocrine inactive adrenal adenoma, 104 patients with mild subclinical, and 47 with clinically overt adrenal cortisol excess. We also analyzed the expression of cortisol-producing CYP11B1 and aldosterone-producing CYP11B2 enzymes in adenoma tissue from 57 patients with aldosterone-producing adenoma, employing immunohistochemistry with digital image analysis. RESULTS:Primary aldosteronism patients had significantly increased cortisol and total glucocorticoid metabolite excretion (all P < 0.001), only exceeded by glucocorticoid output in patients with clinically overt adrenal Cushing syndrome. Several surrogate parameters of metabolic risk correlated significantly with glucocorticoid but not mineralocorticoid output. Intratumoral CYP11B1 expression was significantly associated with the corresponding in vivo glucocorticoid excretion. Unilateral adrenalectomy resolved both mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid excess. Postoperative evidence of adrenal insufficiency was found in 13 (29%) of 45 consecutively tested patients. CONCLUSION:Our data indicate that glucocorticoid cosecretion is frequently found in primary aldosteronism and contributes to associated metabolic risk. Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist therapy alone may not be sufficient to counteract adverse metabolic risk in medically treated patients with primary aldosteronism. FUNDING:Medical Research Council UK, Wellcome Trust, European Commission.
Project description:Surgically correctable forms of primary aldosteronism are characterized by unilateral aldosterone hypersecretion and renin suppression, associated with varying degrees of hypertension and hypokalemia. Unilateral aldosterone hypersecretion is caused by an aldosterone-producing adenoma (also known as Conn's adenoma and aldosteronoma), primary unilateral adrenal hyperplasia and rare cases of aldosterone-producing adrenocortical carcinoma. In these forms, unilateral adrenalectomy can cure aldosterone excess and hypokalemia, but not necessarily hypertension. The prevalence of primary aldosteronism in the general population is not known. Its prevalence in referred hypertensive populations is estimated to be between 6 and 13%, of which 1.5 to 5% have an aldosterone-producing adenoma or primary unilateral adrenal hyperplasia. Taking into account referral biases, the prevalence of surgically correctable primary aldosteronism is probably less than 1.5% in the hypertensive population and less than 0.3% in the general adult population. Surgically correctable primary aldosteronism is sought in patients with hypokalemic, severe or resistant forms of hypertension. Recent recommendations suggest screening for primary aldosteronism using the aldosterone to renin ratio. Patients with a raised ratio then undergo confirmatory suppression tests. The differential diagnosis of hypokalemic hypertension with low renin includes mineralocorticoid excess, with the mineralocorticoid being cortisol or 11-deoxycorticosterone, apparent mineralocorticoid excess, pseudo-hypermineralocorticoidism in Liddle syndrome or exposure to glycyrrhizic acid. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, adrenal computed tomography is performed for all patients. If surgery is considered, taking into consideration the clinical context and the desire of the patient, adrenal vein sampling is performed to detect whether or not aldosterone hypersecretion is unilateral. Laparoscopic surgery for unilateral aldosterone hypersecretion is associated with a morbidity of about 8%, with most complications being minor. It generally results in the normalization of aldosterone secretion and kalemia, and in a large decrease in blood pressure, but normotension without treatment is only achieved in half of all cases. Normotension following adrenalectomy is more frequent in young patients with recent hypertension than in patients with long-standing hypertension or a family history of hypertension.
Project description:Hyper-aldosteronism is associated with myocardial dysfunction including induction of cardiac fibrosis and maladaptive hypertrophy. Mechanisms of these cardiotoxicities are not fully understood. Here we show that mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) activation by aldosterone leads to pathological myocardial signalling mediated by mitochondrial G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) pro-death activity and GRK5 pro-hypertrophic action. Moreover, these MR-dependent GRK2 and GRK5 non-canonical activities appear to involve cross-talk with the angiotensin II type-1 receptor (AT1R). Most importantly, we show that ventricular dysfunction caused by chronic hyper-aldosteronism in vivo is completely prevented in cardiac Grk2 knockout mice (KO) and to a lesser extent in Grk5 KO mice. However, aldosterone-induced cardiac hypertrophy is totally prevented in Grk5 KO mice. We also show human data consistent with MR activation status in heart failure influencing GRK2 levels. Therefore, our study uncovers GRKs as targets for ameliorating pathological cardiac effects associated with high-aldosterone levels.
Project description:Primary autonomic failure is characterized by disabling orthostatic hypotension, but at least half of these patients have paradoxical supine hypertension. Renin-angiotensin mechanisms were not initially thought to contribute to this hypertension because plasma renin activity is often undetectable in autonomic failure. Plasma aldosterone levels are normal, however, and we recently showed that plasma angiotensin II is elevated and acts at AT1 (angiotensin type 1) receptors to contribute to hypertension in these patients. Because aldosterone and angiotensin II can also bind mineralocorticoid receptors to elevate blood pressure, we hypothesized that mineralocorticoid receptor activation plays a role in the hypertension of autonomic failure. To test this hypothesis, we determined the acute effects of the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist eplerenone (50 mg, oral) versus placebo on supine blood pressure in a randomized, double-blind, crossover study. Medications were given at 8:00 pm with blood pressure recorded every 2 hours for 12 hours. Ten primary autonomic failure patients with supine hypertension completed this study (7 pure autonomic failure, 2 multiple system atrophy, 1 parkinson's disease; 7 male; 70±2 years of age). Eplerenone maximally reduced supine systolic blood pressure by 32±6 mm Hg at 8 hours after administration (versus 8±10 mm Hg placebo, P=0.016), with no effect on nocturia (12-hour urine volume: 985±134 mL placebo versus 931±94 mL eplerenone, P=0.492; nocturnal weight loss: -1.19±0.15 kg placebo versus -1.18±0.15 kg eplerenone, P=0.766). These findings suggest that inappropriate mineralocorticoid receptor activation contributes to the hypertension of autonomic failure, likely independent of canonical mineralocorticoid effects, and provides rationale for use of eplerenone in these patients.
Project description:The mineralocorticoid aldosterone is produced in the adrenal zona glomerulosa (ZG) under the control of the renin-angiotensin II (AngII) system. Primary aldosteronism (PA) results from renin-independent production of aldosterone and is a common cause of hypertension. PA is caused by dysregulated localization of the enzyme aldosterone synthase (Cyp11b2), which is normally restricted to the ZG. Cyp11b2 transcription and aldosterone production are predominantly regulated by AngII activation of the Gq signaling pathway. Here, we report the generation of transgenic mice with Gq-coupled designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) specifically in the adrenal cortex. We show that adrenal-wide ligand activation of Gq DREADD receptors triggered disorganization of adrenal functional zonation, with induction of Cyp11b2 in glucocorticoid-producing zona fasciculata cells. This result was consistent with increased renin-independent aldosterone production and hypertension. All parameters were reversible following termination of DREADD-mediated Gq signaling. These findings demonstrate that Gq signaling is sufficient for adrenocortical aldosterone production and implicate this pathway in the determination of zone-specific steroid production within the adrenal cortex. This transgenic mouse also provides an inducible and reversible model of hyperaldosteronism to investigate PA therapeutics and the mechanisms leading to the damaging effects of aldosterone on the cardiovascular system.
Project description:Background:Primary aldosteronism is recognized as a severe form of renin-independent aldosteronism that results in excessive mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) activation. Objective:To investigate whether a spectrum of subclinical renin-independent aldosteronism that increases risk for hypertension exists among normotensive persons. Design:Cohort study. Setting:National community-based study. Participants:850 untreated normotensive participants in MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) with measurements of serum aldosterone and plasma renin activity (PRA). Measurements:Longitudinal analyses investigated whether aldosterone concentrations, in the context of physiologic PRA phenotypes (suppressed, ?0.50 µg/L per hour; indeterminate, 0.51 to 0.99 µg/L per hour; unsuppressed, ?1.0 µg/L per hour), were associated with incident hypertension (defined as systolic blood pressure ?140 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure ?90 mm Hg, or initiation of antihypertensive medications). Cross-sectional analyses investigated associations between aldosterone and MR activity, assessed via serum potassium and urinary fractional excretion of potassium. Results:A suppressed renin phenotype was associated with a higher rate of incident hypertension than other PRA phenotypes (incidence rates per 1000 person-years of follow-up: suppressed renin phenotype, 85.4 events [95% CI, 73.4 to 99.3 events]; indeterminate renin phenotype, 53.3 events [CI, 42.8 to 66.4 events]; unsuppressed renin phenotype, 54.5 events [CI, 41.8 to 71.0 events]). With renin suppression, higher aldosterone concentrations were independently associated with an increased risk for incident hypertension, whereas no association between aldosterone and hypertension was seen when renin was not suppressed. Higher aldosterone concentrations were associated with lower serum potassium and higher urinary excretion of potassium, but only when renin was suppressed. Limitation:Sodium and potassium were measured several years before renin and aldosterone. Conclusion:Suppression of renin and higher aldosterone concentrations in the context of this renin suppression are associated with an increased risk for hypertension and possibly also with increased MR activity. These findings suggest a clinically relevant spectrum of subclinical primary aldosteronism (renin-independent aldosteronism) in normotension. Primary Funding Source:National Institutes of Health.
Project description:Chronic aldosterone administration increases glomerular filtration rate, whereas inhibition of mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs) markedly attenuates glomerular hyperfiltration and hypertension associated with primary aldosteronism or obesity. However, the mechanisms by which aldosterone alters glomerular filtration rate regulation are poorly understood. In the present study, we hypothesized that aldosterone suppresses tubuloglomerular feedback (TGF) via activation of macula densa MR. First, we observed the expression of MR in macula densa cells isolated by laser capture microdissection and by immunofluorescence in rat kidneys. Second, to investigate the effects of aldosterone on TGF in vitro, we microdissected the juxtaglomerular apparatus from rabbit kidneys and perfused the afferent arteriole and distal tubule simultaneously. Under control conditions, TGF was 2.8±0.2 ?m. In the presence of aldosterone (10(-8) mol/L), TGF was reduced by 50%. The effect of aldosterone to attenuate TGF was blocked by the MR antagonist eplerenone (10(-5) mol/L). Third, to investigate the effect of aldosterone on TGF in vivo, we performed micropuncture, and TGF was determined by maximal changes in stop-flow pressure P(sf) when tubular perfusion rate was increased from 0 to 40 nL/min. Aldosterone (10(-7) mol/L) decreased ?P(sf) from 10.1±1.4 to 7.7±1.2 mm Hg. In the presence of l-NG-monomethyl arginine citrate (10(-3) mol/L), this effect was blocked. We conclude that MRs are expressed in macula densa cells and can be activated by aldosterone, which increases nitric oxide production in the macula densa and blunts the TGF response.
Project description:Arterial hypertension (AHT) currently affects approximately 40% of adults worldwide, and its pathological mechanisms are mainly related to renal, vascular, and endocrine systems. Steroid hormones as aldosterone and cortisol are highly relevant to human endocrine physiology, and also to endocrine hypertension. Pathophysiological conditions, such as primary aldosteronism, affect approximately 10% of patients diagnosed with AHT and are secondary to a high production of aldosterone, increasing the risk also for cardiovascular damage and heart diseases. Excess of aldosterone or cortisol increases the activity of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) in epithelial and non-epithelial cells. Current research in this field highlights the potential regulatory mechanisms of the MR pathway, including pre-receptor regulation of the MR (action of 11BHSD2), MR activating proteins, and the downstream genes/proteins sensitive to MR (e.g., epithelial sodium channel, NCC, NKCC2). Mineralocorticoid AHT is present in 15-20% of hypertensive subjects, but the mechanisms associated to this condition have been poorly described, due mainly to the absence of reliable biomarkers. In this way, steroids, peptides, and lately urinary exosomes are thought to be potential reporters of biological processes. This review highlight exosomes and their cargo as potential biomarkers of metabolic changes associated to mineralocorticoid AHT. Recent reports have shown the presence of RNA, microRNAs, and proteins in urinary exosomes, which could be used as biomarkers in physiological and pathophysiological conditions. However, more studies are needed in order to benefit from exosomes and the exosomal cargo as a diagnostic tool in mineralocorticoid AHT.