noun, plural: mineralocorticoids
Corticosteroids belong to a group of steroid hormones that are produced naturally in the adrenal cortex by steroidogenesis in response to the release of adrenocorticotrophin or adrenocorticotropic hormone from the pituitary gland. Corticosteroids may be classified into two major groups based on their predominant biological activity: (1) glucocorticoids and (2) mineralocorticoids.
A mineralocorticoid is a substance (a drug or a hormone) involved in the regulation of electrolytes (e.g. ions) and water balance through acting on ion transport in the epithelial cells of the renal tubules.
Mineralocorticoids are produced mainly in the adrenal cortex. Their secretion is regulated principally by plasma volume, serum potassium concentration and angiotensin II and to a lesser extent by anterior pituitary ACTH.
The primary example of mineralocorticoid is the aldosterone. It is produced in the zona glomerulosa of the adrenal cortex. It acts on the kidneys, particularly involved in the reabsorption of sodium as well as the passive reabsorption of water. It also associated with the secretion of potassium in the cells of the cortical collecting tubule. Thus, it is associated as well in the increase of blood pressure and blood volume.
Synthetic mineralocorticoids are used in medicine as a treatment for mineralocorticoid deficiency. Fludrocortisone is an example of a synthetic mineralocorticoid. It is used to treat adrenogenital syndrome and postural hypotension.