The effects of estriol and estradiol on the plasma levels of cortisol- and thyroxine-binding globulin activity, and on the secretion rates of aldosterone and cortisol were studied in man. The metabolite estriol had no consistent or significant influence on plasma levels of the hormone-binding globulin activities; the hormone estradiol increased these binding capacities significantly, as expected. Cortisol secretion rate rose slightly after estriol but was unchanged after estradiol. Both compounds induced substantial increases in the aldosterone secretion rate of most treated subjects. The mechanism of this apparently paradoxical effect of estrogens is not clear; it is suggested that the “salt-retaining” action of estrogens is mediated in part by the rapid enhancement of aldosterone output which follows their administration in man. Balance experiments in four subjects suggest that both estradiol and estriol may induce a transient early natriuresis in man; but other mechanisms for estrogen stimulation of aldosterone secretion may be operative as well.
Fred H. Katz, Attallah Kappas