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hormones of the adrenal cortex that belong to the corticosteroid group and affect mainly the exchange of Na+ and K+ ions in an organism. Human adrenal glands secrete 0.15–0.4 mg daily of aldosterone, the principal mineralocorticoid. Another mineralocorticoid, desoxycorticosterone, is an intermediate product of the biosynthesis of corticosterone and possibly of aldosterone. Mineralocorticosteroids regulate the elimination of electrolytes by the kidneys, thereby promoting the reabsorption of Na+ by the renal tubules and reducing the reabsorption of K+.
An excess of mineralocorticosteroids leads to an increase of Na+ in the blood, which causes water retention and edema. An insufficiency of mineralocorticosteroids leads to the increased elimination of Na+ with the urine, causing increased excretion of water and tissue dehydration.
REFERENCESBersin, T. Biokhimiia gormonov. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from German.)
Glaz, E., and P. Vecsei. Aldosterone. Oxford, 1971.