Aldosterone: A Forgotten Mediator of the Relationship Between Psychological Stress and Heart Disease


Numerous studies support the notion that cumulative exposure to chronic stress is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Various stress-related hormones have been proposed as potential mediators of the relationship between psychological stress and CVD, including catecholamines and more indirectly, cortisol. Somewhat surprisingly, although aldosterone is also released in response to hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis activation, it has not been considered as relevant for this relationship. In the present review we will consider aldosterone as a potentially important mediator of the relationship between negative affective states and CVD. First, we will briefly review the known functions and roles of aldosterone, and then consider its actions in both the brain and the periphery. We will then review the available literature on the role of aldosterone in CVD, and also consider links between aldosterone and various forms of chronic psychological stress. Finally we will present an integrated model of how aldosterone may mediate effects of chronic stress on CVD, recommend new directions for research, and identify important methodological and design issues for this work.

Authors: Laura D. Kubzansky, Gail K. Adler
Keywords: aldosterone, psychological distress, stress, cardiovascular disease, stress-related hormones, cortisol, mineralocorticoid receptor
DOI Number: 10.1016%2Fj.neubiorev.2009.07.005      Publication Year: 2010

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