Role of Voltage-gated Calcium Channels in the Regulation of Aldosterone Production from Zona Glomerulosa Cells of the Adrenal Cortex


Zona glomerulosa cells (ZG) of the adrenal gland constantly integrate fluctuating ionic, hormonal and paracrine signals to control the synthesis and secretion of aldosterone. These signals modulate Ca2+ levels, which provide the critical second messenger to drive steroid hormone production. Angiotensin II is a hormone known to modulate the activity of voltage-dependent L- and T-type Ca2+ channels that are expressed on the plasma membrane of ZG cells in many species. Because the ZG cell maintains a resting membrane voltage of approximately -85 mV and has been considered electrically silent, low voltage-activated T-type Ca2+ channels are assumed to provide the primary Ca2+ signal that drives aldosterone production. However, this view has recently been challenged by human genetic studies identifying somatic gain-of-function mutations in L-type CaV 1.3 channels in aldosterone-producing adenomas of patients with primary hyperaldosteronism. We provide a review of these assumptions and challenges, and update our understanding of the state of the ZG cell in a layer in which native cellular associations are preserved. This updated view of Ca2+ signalling in ZG cells provides a unifying mechanism that explains how transiently activating CaV 3.2 channels can generate a significant and recurring Ca2+ signal, and how CaV 1.3 channels may contribute to the Ca2+ signal that drives aldosterone production.

Authors: Paula Q. Barrett, Nick A. Guagliardo, Peter M. Klein, Changlong Hu, David T. Breault, Mark P. Beenhakker
Keywords: zona glomerulosa, calcium channel, adrenal gland
DOI Number: 10.1113/jp271896      Publication Year: 2016

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