In a previous study using corticosterone treatment of adrenalectomized rats, we hypothesized that mineralocorticoid receptor (MR)-related mechanisms are constitutively active and that glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-mediated mechanisms are more efficient in Brown Norway rats compared to Fischer 344 (F344) rats. In order to discriminate the mineralocorticoid from the glucocorticoid actions exerted by corticosterone, F344 and Brown Norway adrenalectomized rats were treated with increasing doses (1, 5 and 25 microg/ml of drinking water) of deoxycorticosterone (DOC, MR-specific ligand) or RU 28362 (GR-specific ligand). These rats were compared with long-term adrenalectomized (ADX) untreated rats and sham-ADX rats. This study confirms our previous results, notably the lack of effect of ADX on body weight and fluid intake in Brown Norway rats. Moreover, DOC treatment had no effect in Brown Norway rats whereas the higher dose restored fluid intake of the F344 ADX group to sham values. These results support the hypothesis of a constitutive activation of the MR and therefore the insensitivity of this receptor to its ligand in Brown Norway rats. Alternatively, RU 28362 treatment induced greater weight loss, decrease in food intake, anxiolysis, thymus involution, and decrease in plasma transcortin concentration and pituitary corticosteroid receptor densities in Brown Norway rats than in F344 rats, which is consistent with greater efficiency of GR mechanisms in Brown Norway rats than in F344 rats. Therefore, these strains are of great utility to disentangle MR and GR effects on complex phenotypes.