To assess the function of the final step of the pathway for aldosterone biosynthesis, the responsiveness of plasma 18-hydroxycorticosterone and aldosterone concentrations to angiotensin II infusion was studied in 14 patients with nonazotemic diabetes mellitus as compared with 14 normal controls approximately matched for sex and age. In addition, the responses of both steroids to corticotropin injection were investigated in the diabetic patients. Under basal conditions, plasma aldosterone levels were slightly lower in the patients than in normal controls, while plasma 18-hydroxycorticosterone concentrations were similar in the two study groups. Angiotensin II induced marked and comparable increases in plasma 18-hydroxycorticosterone and aldosterone levels in normal and diabetic subjects. Plasma 18-hydroxycorticosterone and aldosterone levels before and after angiotensin II infusion were significantly interrelated; this correlation was similar in normal subjects (r = 0.61; P < 0.001) and diabetic patients (r = 0.51; P < 0.005). Plasma 18-hydroxycorticosterone and aldosterone were significantly increased by corticotropin in the patients. These findings indicate that the terminal step of aldosterone biosynthesis, which involves the production of 18-hydroxycorticosterone and aldosterone, is largely unaltered in patients with nonazotemic diabetes mellitus.

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