Aldosterone is part of a group of linked hormones, which form the renin– angiotensin –aldosterone system. Activation of this system occurs when there is decrease in blood flow to the kidneys following loss of blood volume or a drop in blood pressure (. due to a haemorrhage) or decrease in plasma sodium concentration. Renin is an enzyme that leads to a series of chemical reactions resulting in the production of angiotensin II , which in turn stimulate aldosterone release. Aldosterone causes an increase in salt and water reabsorption into the bloodstream from the kidney thereby increasing the blood volume, restoring salt levels and blood pressure. Once salt levels and blood pressure are corrected and the body becomes rehydrated, the level of renin in the bloodstream falls and therefore the amount of aldosterone in the blood also falls, meaning more water is excreted in the urine. The renin-angiotensin -aldosterone system is an example of a negative feedback system.
Anabolic and androgenic steroids are available as prescription medications to be used in cases in which the body does not make enough hormone and supplementation may be required. Some hormone supplements in this pathway include growth hormone and testosterone itself. These medications are legally prescribed by health-care providers, but this group of drugs is often used illegally and abused to help increase athletic performance and improve body appearance. When used in a well-nourished body, anabolic steroids will cause weight gain primarily due to an increase in muscle mass.
Cells of the zona fasciculata and zona reticularis lack aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) that converts corticosterone to aldosterone, and thus these tissues produce only the weak mineralocorticoid corticosterone. However, both these zones do contain the CYP17A1 missing in zona glomerulosa and thus produce the major glucocorticoid, cortisol. Zona fasciculata and zona reticularis cells also contain CYP17A1, whose 17,20-lyase activity is responsible for producing the androgens, dehydroepiandosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione. Thus, fasciculata and reticularis cells can make corticosteroids and the adrenal androgens, but not aldosterone.