The effects on sodium transport of several steroids physiologically secreted or possibly involved in pathological disorders were compared with those of aldosterone in the isolated toad skin.
The 18-hydroxylated derivatives of deoxycorticosterone and corticosterone, in contrast to their parent compounds, significantly enhanced sodium transport at a concentration of 50 nmol/l. In the presence of glucose, 18-hydroxydeoxycorticosterone increased trans-epithelial potential difference, as did aldosterone. The 19-nor derivative of deoxycorticosterone, recently implicated in the aetiology of adrenal regeneration hypertension, stimulated sodium transport, unlike 19-nor-corticosterone and 16-oxo-androstenediol. Insulin significantly increased sodium transport in aldosterone-treated skin and lowered the resistance. The natriferic response to vasopressin was potentiated fivefold by exposure of the skin to aldosterone and was doubled in skin exposed to 19-nor-deoxycorticosterone.
We conclude that 18-hydroxylated adrenocortical steroids can play a physiological role in salt retention; furthermore, these steroids, as well as 19-nor-deoxycorticosterone, could be involved in pathological conditions such as low renin hypertension. Caution should be exercised in evaluating mineralocorticoid potency solely in terms of the urinary sodium to potassium ratio.