Accumulating evidence suggests that the nongenomic cardiovascular actions of aldosterone are produced by varied cellular pathways and mediated by a multitude of messenger systems including the reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Considering the involvement of the oxidative and nitrosative stress in the pathways leading to the activation of the angiotensin - aldosterone system, in the current study we tried to evaluate the functional interactions between aldosterone, angiotensin II and antioxidants in isolated vascular smooth muscle of aortic rings from rats. Our data provide additional arguments that the nongenomic actions of aldosterone on aortic smooth muscle cells of rats are a question of cross-talk and balance between its rapid vasoconstrictor and vasodilator effects, as result of the activation of reactive oxygen species in the first case and of nitrogen species in the second. In this way, it seems that at low ambient oxidative stress, aldosterone promotes nitric oxide (NO) production and vasodilatation, while in situations with increased oxidative stress the endothelial dysfunction and detrimental effects induced by vasoconstriction will prevail. Thus, aldosterone could be considered both “friend and foe”. This could be relevant for the ways in which aldosterone damages cardiovascular functions and could lead to significant therapeutic improvements.
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