Aldosterone as a renal growth factor
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Aldosterone regulates blood pressure through its effects on the cardiovascular system and kidney. Aldosterone can also contribute to the development of hypertension that leads to chronic pathologies such as nephropathy and renal fibrosis. Aldosterone directly modulates renal cell proliferation and differentiation as part of normal kidney development. The stimulation of rapidly activated protein kinase cascades is one facet of how aldosterone regulates renal cell growth. These cascades may also contribute to myofibroblastic transformation and cell proliferation observed in pathological conditions of the kidney. Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that is accelerated by hypertension. EGFR-dependent proliferation of the renal epithelium is a factor in cyst development and trans-activation of EGFR is a key feature in initiating aldosterone-induced signalling cascades. Delineating the components of aldosterone-induced signalling cascades may identify novel therapeutic targets for proliferative diseases of the kidney.