JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, N.I.H., EXTRAMURAL
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, NON-P.H.S.
REVIEW
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The multifaceted mineralocorticoid receptor.

The primary adrenal cortical steroid hormones, aldosterone, and the glucocorticoids cortisol and corticosterone, act through the structurally similar mineralocorticoid (MR) and glucocorticoid receptors (GRs). Aldosterone is crucial for fluid, electrolyte, and hemodynamic homeostasis and tissue repair; the significantly more abundant glucocorticoids are indispensable for energy homeostasis, appropriate responses to stress, and limiting inflammation. Steroid receptors initiate gene transcription for proteins that effect their actions as well as rapid non-genomic effects through classical cell signaling pathways. GR and MR are expressed in many tissues types, often in the same cells, where they interact at molecular and functional levels, at times in synergy, others in opposition. Thus the appropriate balance of MR and GR activation is crucial for homeostasis. MR has the same binding affinity for aldosterone, cortisol, and corticosterone. Glucocorticoids activate MR in most tissues at basal levels and GR at stress levels. Inactivation of cortisol and corticosterone by 11β-HSD2 allows aldosterone to activate MR within aldosterone target cells and limits activation of the GR. Under most conditions, 11β-HSD1 acts as a reductase and activates cortisol/corticosterone, amplifying circulating levels. 11β-HSD1 and MR antagonists mitigate inappropriate activation of MR under conditions of oxidative stress that contributes to the pathophysiology of the cardiometabolic syndrome; however, MR antagonists decrease normal MR/GR functional interactions, a particular concern for neurons mediating cognition, memory, and affect.

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