In the last decade significant progress has been made in the understanding of mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) function and its implications for physiology and disease. The knowledge on the essential role of MR in the regulation of electrolyte concentrations and blood pressure has been significantly extended, and the relevance of excessive MR activation in promoting inflammation, fibrosis and heart disease as well as its role in modulating neuronal cell viability and brain function is now widely recognized. Despite considerable progress, the mechanisms of MR function in various cell-types are still poorly understood. Key modulators of MR function include the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), which may affect MR function by formation of heterodimers and by differential genomic and non-genomic responses on gene expression, and 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (11β-HSDs), which determine the availability of intracellular concentrations of active glucocorticoids. In this review we attempted to provide an overview of the knowledge on MR expression with regard to the presence or absence of GR, 11β-HSD2 and 11β-HSD1/hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PDH) in various tissues and cell types. The consequences of cell-specific differences in the coexpression of MR with these proteins need to be further investigated in order to understand the role of this receptor in a given tissue as well as its systemic impact.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.