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Examination of the mechanisms whereby heparin impairs aldosterone biosynthesis

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IN the present study we have measured the plasma levels of aldosterone and its precursors in 20 patients before and during treatment with heparin which had been administered in response to usual clinical indications. Aldosterone levels fell significantly with the introduction of heparin but significant changes did not occur in the plasma levels of pregnenolone, progesterone, H-deoxycorticoster-one or corticosterone. The findings are strongly against a heparin-induced inhibition of enzyme activity along the aldosterone biosynthetic pathway. In view of this finding it is likely that heparin has a toxic effect on glomerulosa cells unrelated to a specific action on enzyme activity. Since aldosterone levels rise rapidly after withdrawal of heparin the anti-adrenal effect of the drug is promptly reversible

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Kelly, R.O., McKenna, T.J. Examination of the mechanisms whereby heparin impairs aldosterone biosynthesis. Ir J Med Sci 151, 378–383 (1982).

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