G-protein-coupled receptors in aldosterone-producing adenomas: a potential cause of hyperaldosteronism

J Endocrinol. 2007 Oct;195(1):39-48. doi: 10.1677/JOE-07-0037.


The source of aldosterone in 30-40% of patients with primary hyperaldosteronism (PA) is unilateral aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA). The mechanisms causing elevated aldosterone production in APA are unknown. Herein, we examined the expression of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in APA and demonstrated that when compared with normal adrenals, there is a general elevation of certain GPCR in many APA and/or ectopic expression of GPCR in others. RNA samples from normal adrenals (n = 5), APAs (n = 10), and cortisol-producing adenomas (CPAs; n = 13) were used on 15 genomic expression arrays, each of which included 223 GPCR transcripts presented in at least 1 out of 15 of the independent microarrays. The array results were confirmed using real-time RT-PCR (qPCR). Four GPCR transcripts exhibited a statistically significant increase that was greater than threefold when compared with normal adrenals, suggesting a general increase in expression when compared with normal adrenal glands. Four GPCR transcripts exhibited a > 15-fold increase of expression in one or more of the APA samples when compared with normal adrenals. qPCR analysis confirmed array data and found the receptors with the highest fold increase in APA expression to be LH receptor, serotonin receptor 4, GnRH receptor, glutamate receptor metabotropic 3, endothelin receptor type B-like protein, and ACTH receptor. There are also sporadic increased expressions of these genes in the CPAs. Together, these findings suggest a potential role of altered GPCR expression in many cases of PA and provide candidate GPCR for further study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Adrenocortical Adenoma / metabolism*
  • Aldosterone / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Hyperaldosteronism / etiology*
  • Hyperaldosteronism / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Aldosterone