FOLLOWING demonstration of the remarkable biological effects of hydrocortisone, many investigators were willing to recognize this steroid as the major and totipotent hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex. However, in 1950 it was found1 that steroidal extracts of urine from patients forming edema contained a material which was potent in promoting sodium retention and potassium excretion in adrenalectomized rats. This finding was perhaps a stimulus to the important work which led to the isolation and characterization2 of the adrenal cortical hormone aldosterone.
Aldosterone is present in relatively minute amounts in plasma (one one-hundredth of the concentration of hydrocortisone), but its great potency indicates that it plays a major role in regulating the amount of sodium and potassium in the body; through its direct effect on the renal tubule it accelerates renal retention of sodium chloride and the elimination of potassium ions.
In normal individuals aldosterone secretion may
Laragh JH. The Role of Aldosterone in ManEvidence for Regulation of Electrolyte Balance and Arterial Pressure by a Renal-Adrenal System Which May Be Involved in Malignant Hypertension. JAMA. 1960;174(3):293–295. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.63030030007014