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Williams, Tracy Ann; Jaquin, Diana; Burrello, Jacopo; Philippe, Aurelie; Yang, Yuhong; Rank, Petra; Nirschl, Nina; Sturm, Lisa; Hubener, Christoph; Dragun, Duska; Bidlingmaier, Martin; Beuschlein, Felix; Reincke, Martin ORCID: 0000-0002-9817-9875 (2019): Diverse Responses of Autoantibodies to the Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor in Primary Aldosteronism. In: Hypertension, Vol. 74, No. 4: pp. 784-792
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Abstract

Primary aldosteronism is a common form of endocrine hypertension mainly caused by a unilateral aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA) or bilateral adrenal hyperplasia (BAH). AT1R-Abs (autoantibodies to the angiotensin II type 1 receptor) have been reported in patients with disorders associated with hypertension. Our objective was to assess AT1R-Ab levels in patients with primary aldosteronism (APA, n=40 and BAH, n=40) relative to patients with primary hypertension (n=40), preeclampsia (n=23), and normotensive individuals (n=25). AT1R-Abs in whole sera were measured using 2 different ELISAs which gave contrasting results. A functional cell-based assay was used to quantify activation of the AT1R (angiotensin II type 1 receptor) using whole sera or affinity-purified antibodies in the absence or presence of losartan (a specific AT1R antagonist). Serum samples from all groups displayed different levels of AT1R activation with different responses to losartan. Patients with BAH displayed higher losartan-independent affinity-isolated agonistic AT1R-Ab levels compared with patients with APA (P<0.01) and with normotensive individuals (P<0.0001). In patients with APA, BAH, and primary hypertension combined, higher aldosterone-to-renin ratios and lower plasma renin concentrations were associated with higher compared with lower agonistic AT1R-Ab levels. In patients with primary aldosteronism, higher AT1R-Ab activity was associated with an increased likelihood of a diagnosis of BAH compared with APA and with the presence of adrenal hyperplasia detected by computed tomography. Taken together, these data suggest that agonistic AT1R-Abs may have a functional role in a subgroup of patients with primary aldosteronism.