Please cite this paper as: The mineralocorticoid receptor as a novel player in skin biology: beyond the renal horizon? Experimental Dermatology 2010; 19: 100–107.
Abstract: The mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) and its ligand aldosterone regulate renal sodium reabsorption and blood pressure and much knowledge has been accumulated in MR physiopathology, cellular and molecular targets. In contrast, our understanding of this hormonal system in non-classical targets (heart, blood vessels, neurons, keratinocytes…) is limited, particularly in the mammalian skin. We review here the few available data that point on MR in the skin and that document cutaneous MR expression and function, based on mouse models and very limited observations in humans. Mice that overexpress the MR in the basal epidermal keratinocytes display developmental and post-natal abnormalities of the epidermis and hair follicle, raising exciting new questions regarding skin biology. The MR as a transcription factor may be an unexpected novel player in regulating keratinocyte and hair physiology and pathology. Because its activating ligand also includes glucocorticoids, that are widely used in dermatology, we propose that the MR may be also involved in the side-effects of corticoids, opening novel options for therapeutical intervention.