Aldosterone Action on the Kidney

Aldosterone is a hormone that increases the reabsorption of sodium and water and the release (secretion) of potassium in the kidneys. This increases blood volume and therefore, increases blood pressure. Many drugs, such as spironolactone, lower blood pressure by blocking the aldosterone receptor. Aldosterone is part of the renin-angiotensin system.

Aldosterone is the primary of several endogenous members of the class of mineralocorticoids in human. Deoxycorticosterone is another important member of this class. At the late distal tubule & collecting duct, aldosterone has three main actions:

  • Acting on the nuclear mineralocorticoid receptors (MR) within the principal cells of the distal tubule and the collecting duct of the kidney nephron, it increases the permeability of the apical (luminal) membrane to potassium and sodium and activates the basolateral Na+/K+ pumps, stimulating ATP hydrolysis leading to phosphorylation of the pump and a conformational change in the pump exposes the Na+ ions to the outside. The phosphorylated form of the pump has a low affinity for Na+ ions, hence reabsorbing sodium (Na+) ions and water into the blood, and secreting potassium (K+) ions into the urine. (Chlorine anions are also reabsorbed in conjunction with sodium cations to maintain the system's electrochemical balance.)
  • Aldosterone stimulates H+ secretion by intercalated cells in the collecting duct, regulating plasma bicarbonate (HCO3−) levels and its acid/base balance.
  • Aldosterone may act on the central nervous system via the posterior pituitary gland to release vasopressin (ADH) which serves to conserve water by direct actions on renal tubular reabsorption.

Aldosterone is responsible for the reabsorption of about 2% of filtered sodium in the kidneys, which is nearly equal to the entire sodium content in human blood under normal GFR (glomerular filtration rate).

Aldosterone, most probably acting through mineralocorticoid receptors, may positively influence neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus.


"Aldosterone." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 22 Jun 2009, 02:13 UTC. 22 Jun 2009

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