Aldosterone and the mineralocorticoid receptor in the cerebral circulation and stroke
1 Department of Pharmacology, Monash University Wellington Road, Clayton, Victoria, 3800, Australia
2 School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, 4072, Australia
3 Prince Henry’s Institute and the Departments of Physiology and Medicine, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, 3168, Australia
Experimental & Translational Stroke Medicine 2012, 4:21 doi:10.1186/2040-7378-4-21Published: 30 October 2012
Ischemic stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Elevated plasma aldosterone levels are an independent cardiovascular risk factor and are thought to contribute to hypertension, a major risk factor for stroke. Evidence from both experimental and human studies supports a role for aldosterone and/or the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) in contributing to detrimental effects in the cerebral vasculature and to the incidence and outcome of ischemic stroke. This article reviews the evidence, including the protective effects of MR antagonism. Specifically, the effects of aldosterone and/or MR activation on cerebral vascular structure and on immune cells will be reviewed. The existing evidence suggests that aldosterone and the MR contribute to cerebral vascular pathology and to the incidence and outcome of stroke. We suggest that further research into the signaling mechanisms underlying the effects of aldosterone and MR activation in the brain and its vasculature, especially with regard to cell-specific actions, will provide important insight into causes and potential treatments for cerebrovascular disease and stroke.