Is aldosterone synthesized within the rat brain?

Elise P. Gomez-Sanchez, Naveed Ahmad, Damian G. Romero, Celso E. Gomez-Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Very small amounts of adrenocorticosteroids are synthesized by brain tissue in vitro. While there is evidence suggesting that the synthesis of aldosterone in the brain may have a role in the hypertension of the Dahl salt-sensitive rat, the de novo synthesis of aldosterone or corticosterone within the brain of a living animal has not been demonstrated. We have used sensitive ELISAs to measure aldosterone and corticosterone in the plasma and whole brains of intact rats receiving a normal-, low-, or high-salt diet to alter adrenal aldosterone production and of adrenalectomized rats provided sodium replacement, some of which received aldosterone, corticosterone, or DOC replacement. The results of several experiments were consistent. In intact rats, the brain concentration of aldosterone and corticosterone reflected that in the plasma. However, whereas aldosterone and corticosterone were undetectable or barely undetectable in the plasma of adrenalectomized animals, as was the corticosterone in their brains, aldosterone was consistently found in the brains of adrenalectomized rats, ranging from a mean of 6.6-41 pg/g, depending on the experiment. Provision of DOC as substrate for the endogenous aldosterone synthase and 11β-hydroxylase did not significantly increase brain aldosterone or corticosterone content. It is postulated that the small amounts of aldosterone synthesized in the brain could provide a local ligand for autocrine or paracrine activation of the mineralocorticoid receptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E342-E346
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2 51-2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Adrenocorticosteroids
  • Aldosterone production
  • De novo synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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