Men exhibit a higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases than do women. The cardiovascular actions of sex steroids have been suggested as primary factors in mediating this sex difference. The mechanisms by which sex steroids, androgens and estrogens, mediate cardiovascular actions remain unclear. Excess aldosterone secretion has been associated with cardiovascular diseases. The hypothesis tested in this study was that at physiological concentrations, androgens stimulate and estradiol inhibits aldosterone secretion by human adrenal cells. In contrast to our hypothesis, physiological concentrations of sex steroids did not modify aldosterone secretion by H295R human adrenocortical cells. However, supraphysiological concentrations (300-1000 nM) of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) significantly stimulated basal and Angiotensin II-mediated aldosterone secretion. The stimulatory effect of DHT on aldosterone secretion was not blocked by the classical androgen receptor blocker flutamide. The stimulatory effect of DHT on aldosterone secretion was also independent of the intra-adrenal renin-angiotensin system since it was neither modified by treatment with the Angiotensin II receptor type 1 blocker losartan or the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor captopril. Inhibitors of the calmodulin/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMK) and protein kinase C intracellular signaling pathways abolished the DHT stimulatory effect on aldosterone secretion by H295R cells. In conclusion, physiological concentrations of sex steroids did not modify aldosterone secretion by human adrenal cells. However, supraphysiological concentrations of DHT-stimulated aldosterone secretion by human adrenal cells by the calmodulin/CaMK and protein kinase C intracellular signaling pathways but independently of the classical androgen receptor. Supraphysiological doses of androgen may promote cardiovascular diseases via stimulation of aldosterone secretion.