Pathogenesis and Treatment of Primary Aldosteronism


Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of primary aldosteronism, the most frequent cause of secondary hypertension, are crucial to prevent deleterious cardiovascular outcomes. In the past decade, the discovery of genetic abnormalities responsible for sporadic and familial forms of primary aldosteronism has improved the knowledge of the pathogenesis of this disorder. Mutations in genes encoding ion channels and pumps lead to increased cytosolic concentrations of calcium in zona glomerulosa cells, which triggers CYP11B2 expression and autonomous aldosterone production. Improved understanding of the mechanisms underlying the disease is key to improving diagnostics and to developing and implementing targeted treatments. This Review provides an update on the genetic abnormalities associated with sporadic and familial forms of primary aldosteronism, their frequency among different populations and the mechanisms explaining excessive aldosterone production and adrenal nodule development. The possible effects and uses of these findings for improving the diagnostics for primary aldosteronism are discussed. Furthermore, current treatment options of primary aldosteronism are reviewed, with particular attention to the latest studies on blood pressure and cardiovascular outcomes following medical or surgical treatment. The new perspectives regarding the use of targeted drug therapy for aldosterone-producing adenomas with specific somatic mutations are also addressed.

Authors: Maria-Christina Zennaro, Sheerazed Boulkroun, Fabio L. Fernandes-Rosa
Keywords: pathogenesis, treatment, underdiagnosis, genetic abnormalities
DOI Number: 10.1038/s41574-020-0382-4      Publication Year: 2020

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