To investigate the control of aldosterone secretion, non-stress levels of serum aldosterone, corticosterone, and prolactin, and renin activity were determined at 4-h intervals during 24-h light-dark cycles in adult male rats on regular and low-sodium diets. Circadian rhythms of plasma aldosterone, prolactin, and corticosterone concentrations and of serum renin activity were demonstrated during a regular sodium diet. When the rats were on a low-sodium diet, a circadian rhythm of serum corticosterone and aldosterone concentration was observed, but there was no circadian variation in serum renin activity or in serum prolactin concentration. Serum aldosterone concentration correlated with serum corticosterone concentration (r = 0.48) and serum renin activity (r = 0.28) during a regular sodium diet and with serum renin activity (r = 0.36) during a low-sodium diet. Serum prolactin concentration did not increase with sodium depletion and did not correlate with serum aldosterone concentration or serum osmolality. These data are compatible with a role for renin and ACTH, but not for prolactin, in the modulation of aldosterone secretion in the rat.
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