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Pflugers Arch. 2013 Dec;465(12):1661-70. doi: 10.1007/s00424-013-1282-4. Epub 2013 May 1.

Smooth muscle cell mineralocorticoid receptors: role in vascular function and contribution to cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Molecular Cardiology Research Institute, Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington Street, Boston, MA, USA, amccurley@tuftsmedicalcenter.org.


The mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), a member of the steroid receptor family, regulates blood pressure by mediating the effects of the hormone aldosterone on renal sodium handling. In recent years, it has become clear that MR is expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and interest has grown in understanding the direct role of SMC MR in regulating vascular function. This interest stems from multiple clinical studies where MR inhibitor treatment reduced the incidence of cardiovascular events and mortality. This review summarizes the most recent advances in our understanding of SMC MR in regulating normal vascular function and in promoting vascular disease. Many new studies suggest a role for SMC MR activation in stimulating vascular contraction and contributing to vessel inflammation, fibrosis, and remodeling. These detrimental vascular effects of MR activation appear to be independent of changes in blood pressure and are synergistic with the presence of endothelial dysfunction or damage. Thus, in humans with underlying cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular risk factors, SMC MR activation may promote hypertension, atherosclerosis, and vascular aging. Further exploration of the molecular mechanisms for the effects of SMC MR activation has the potential to identify novel therapeutic targets to prevent or treat common cardiovascular disorders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
[Available on 2014/12/1]
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