Circadian rhythm of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in the rat

Arch Toxicol. 1976 Dec 17;36(3-4):305-16. doi: 10.1007/BF00340536.


The 24 h-course of plasma renin activity (PRA), plasma aldosterone concentration (PAC), plasma corticosterone concentration (PCC) and of the urinary excretion of sodium, potassium and aldosterone was investigated in male Sprague-Dawley rats under different experimental conditions. The data obtained can be summarized as follows: 1. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) of the rat is subject to a circadian rhythm which is largely in phase with the well-known rhythm of the pituitary-adrenal axis. This rhythm can be demonstrated in PRA as well as in plasma concentrations and urinary excretion rates of aldosterone. The rhythm of urinary excretion of electrolytes is unlikely to be due to the rhythm of aldosterone secretion. 2. The light-dark cycle is the main synchronizer for these rhythms: inverting the light-dark cycle for 5 weeks entirely inverts the rhythms of all the parameters cited. 3. A dissociation of the rhythms of PRA and PAC can be observed following sodium restriction or dexamethasone treatment. A role of ACTH IN regulating the rhythmic pattern of aldosterone secretion is suggested by the finding that PAC and PCC follow the same pattern of circadian variations under every experimental condition tested. 4. The responsiveness of the RAAS to stimulation or suppression varies with the time of day. 5. It is suggested that experiments ought to be performed not only during the inactive (light hours) but also during the active (dark hours) phase when investigating the RAAS in the rat. This can conveniently be achieved by the use of an animal room with a reversed lighting regime.

MeSH terms

  • Aldosterone / metabolism*
  • Aldosterone / urine
  • Angiotensin II / blood
  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology
  • Furosemide / pharmacology
  • Light
  • Male
  • Potassium / urine
  • Rats
  • Renin / blood*
  • Sodium / urine


  • Angiotensin II
  • Aldosterone
  • Furosemide
  • Dexamethasone
  • Sodium
  • Renin
  • Potassium
  • Corticosterone