30 YEARS OF THE MINERALOCORTICOID RECEPTOR: The role of the mineralocorticoid receptor in the vasculature

    1. Iris Z Jaffe
    1. Molecular Cardiology Research Institute, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to I Z Jaffe; Email: Ijaffe{at}tuftsmedicalcenter.org


    Since the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) was cloned 30 years ago, it has become clear that MR is expressed in extra-renal tissues, including the cardiovascular system, where it is expressed in all cells of the vasculature. Understanding the role of MR in the vasculature has been of particular interest as clinical trials show that MR antagonism improves cardiovascular outcomes out of proportion to changes in blood pressure. The last 30 years of research have demonstrated that MR is a functional hormone-activated transcription factor in vascular smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells. This review summarizes advances in our understanding of the role of vascular MR in regulating blood pressure and vascular function, and its contribution to vascular disease. Specifically, vascular MR contributes directly to blood pressure control and to vascular dysfunction and remodeling in response to hypertension, obesity and vascular injury. The literature is summarized with respect to the role of vascular MR in conditions including: pulmonary hypertension; cerebral vascular remodeling and stroke; vascular inflammation, atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction; acute kidney injury; and vascular pathology in the eye. Considerations regarding the impact of age and sex on the function of vascular MR are also described. Further investigation of the precise molecular mechanisms by which MR contributes to these processes will aid in the identification of novel therapeutic targets to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related morbidity and mortality.

    • Received 27 April 2017
    • Accepted 3 May 2017
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