Aldosterone and Vascular Mineralocorticoid Receptors in Murine Endotoxic and Human Septic Shock*

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Vascular mineralocorticoid receptors play a role in vascular tone and blood pressure regulation, might participate in the pathophysiology of circulatory failure during sepsis, and represent a potential therapeutic target in this disease. We aimed to study the effects of mineralocorticoids and the involvement of vascular mineralocorticoid receptors in murine endotoxic and human septic shock.


Experimental study.


Translational investigation including animal research and in vitro experiments using human vascular cells and plasma from septic patients.


Adult male C57Black 6 mice, adult patients with septic shock.


Mice were injected with lipopolysaccharide and/or aldosterone. Human endothelial and smooth muscle cells were treated with pro-inflammatory cytokines with or without aldosterone, nuclear factor-κB inhibitor BAY 11-7082, or plasma from septic patients.

Measurements and Main Results:

Aldosterone improved 5-day survival, invasive arterial pressure, and in vivo and ex vivo arterial response to phenylephrine at 18 hours after induction of murine endotoxic shock. Both α1-adrenoceptor and mineralocorticoid receptor expressions studied in mouse aortas were down-regulated at 6 and 18 hours in endotoxemic mice and restored in aldosterone-treated mice. Furthermore, tumor necrosis factor-α decreased both mineralocorticoid receptor and α1-adrenoceptor expressions within 5 hours in human vascular cells in a nuclear factor-κB pathway–dependent manner. Mineralocorticoid receptor expression was also blunted in human cells treated with plasma from septic patients.


We found a beneficial effect of mineralocorticoids on survival, blood pressure, and vascular reactivity, associated with a restoration of α1-adrenoceptor expression in endotoxic shock. Furthermore, blunted vascular mineralocorticoid receptor expression might participate in hemodynamic failure during sepsis.

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