Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-induced signals mediating aldosterone production

    1. Wendy B Bollag1,3
    1. 1Department of Physiology, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University (formerly Georgia Regents University), Augusta, Georgia, USA
    2. 2Departments of Molecular & Integrative Physiology and Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
    3. 3Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, One Freedom Way, Augusta, Georgia, USA
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to W B Bollag; Email: wbollag{at}


    Aldosterone, secreted by the adrenal zona glomerulosa, enhances sodium retention, thus increasing blood volume and pressure. Excessive production of aldosterone results in high blood pressure and contributes to cardiovascular and renal disease, stroke and visual loss. Hypertension is also associated with obesity, which is correlated with other serious health risks as well. Although weight gain is associated with increased blood pressure, the mechanism by which excess fat deposits increase blood pressure remains unclear. Several studies have suggested that aldosterone levels are elevated with obesity and may represent a link between obesity and hypertension. In addition to hypertension, obese patients typically have dyslipidemia, including elevated serum levels of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). VLDL, which functions to transport triglycerides from the liver to peripheral tissues, has been demonstrated to stimulate aldosterone production. Recent studies suggest that the signaling pathways activated by VLDL are similar to those utilized by AngII. Thus, VLDL increases cytosolic calcium levels and stimulates phospholipase D (PLD) activity to result in the induction of steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein and aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) expression. These effects seem to be mediated by the ability of VLDL to increase the phosphorylation (activation) of their regulatory transcription factors, such as the cAMP response element-binding (CREB) protein family of transcription factors. Thus, research into the pathways by which VLDL stimulates aldosterone production may identify novel targets for the development of therapies for the treatment of hypertension, particularly those associated with obesity, and other aldosterone-modulated pathologies.

    • Received 21 November 2016
    • Accepted 2 December 2016
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 2 December 2016
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