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Horm Res. 1990;34(3-4):175-80.

New aspects of mineralocorticoid hypertension.

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Istituto di Semeiotica Medica, Università di Padova, Italia.


Primary aldosteronism is the principal disorder of the zona glomerulosa, and a number of subsets have been identified: unilateral adenoma, bilateral micro- or macronodular hyperplasia (idiopathic aldosteronism), primary hyperplasia, and aldosterone-producing carcinoma, either adrenal or ectopic. The diagnostic criteria for a correct differential diagnosis of these subsets are now quite reliable, and our experience is presented in detail. Unfortunately, the pathogenesis of most of these forms is still poorly recognized and requires further investigation. An extreme sensitivity to angiotensin II is present in patients with idiopathic aldosteronism, and a role of adrenal renin is now being advocated. A peculiar form of hyperaldosteronism is the glucocorticoid-remediable subtype. An unusual sensitivity of aldosterone to ACTH is present in this form. The qualitative biochemical abnormality in this disorder consists of a marked overproduction of products of the cortisol C-18-oxidation pathway, 18-hydroxycortisol and 18-oxocortisol, which are more abundant than aldosterone and 18-hydroxycorticosterone. A family with 3 affected sibs has been studied by our group. In other clinical situations, classical zona fasciculata mineralocorticoids (deoxycorticosterone [DOC], corticosterone, and their 18-hydroxy compounds) are secreted in excess. The hypertensive diseases of this zone are rare DOC-secreting tumors and two forms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, the 11 beta-hydroxylase and 17 alpha-hydroxylase deficiency syndromes, which are identified by the presence of hypokalemia and suppressed renin activity. DOC is the only mineralocorticoid hormone (MCH) oversecreted in the 11-hydroxylase deficiency syndromes, while all ACTH-dependent MCH levels are very high in the 17-hydroxylase deficiency syndromes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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