Detection of glycyrrhetinic acid-like factors (GALFs) in human urine.
Patients with the syndrome of apparent mineralocorticoid excess and those who ingest licorice show markedly decreased 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11 beta-OHSD) and 5 beta-reductase activity; both are important for the deactivation of glucocorticoids and other steroid hormones. Glycyrrhetinic acid (GA), present as its glycoside in licorice, is a potent inhibitor of both 11 beta-OHSD and 5 beta-reductase and, as we have also shown, confers Na(+)-retaining properties on glucocorticoids and amplifies those of aldosterone and deoxycorticosterone. We report the results of our initial studies demonstrating the presence of naturally occurring substances, which inhibit both 5 beta-reductase and 11 beta-OHSD as does GA, in partially purified extracts of urine from normotensive men and nonpregnant and pregnant women. Since these substances exhibit GA-like activity, we have termed them GA-like factors (GALFs). This "inhibitory" material is heat stable and does not react with ninhydrin; the majority is not extractable with ethyl acetate and thus is not a "free" steroid. When further purified by high-performance liquid chromatography with a methanol/water gradient, the majority of these GALFs appeared in two regions of inhibitory activity. The chemical nature of this material is currently being investigated. These experiments indicate that normal human urine contains GALFs that may play a role in Na+ homeostasis and regulation of blood pressure.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association