Which of the following best describes the primary function of hormones belonging to the group mineralocorticoids? (A) To regulate the development of sexual organs and characteristics. (B) To regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates in the body to maintain normal concentrations of blood glucose. (C) To respond to signals from the sympathetic nervous system and induce the fight-or-flight response. Or (D) to balance the mineral and water content of the body.
This question asks about the primary function of mineralocorticoid hormones. Mineralocorticoids are released from the adrenal glands, which are endocrine organs situated just above the kidney in the human body. The adrenal glands are made up of two main divisions, the inner medulla and the outer cortex. Mineralocorticoids are released from the outer cortex and travel directly into the bloodstream.
One example of a mineralocorticoid includes aldosterone. Aldosterone helps to balance salt and water concentrations in the blood. It does so by targeting the kidney tissues and instructing them to increase their reuptake of sodium ions. Due to the increased osmotic pressure, this causes water retention and increased blood pressure. Aldosterone also has an effect on potassium excretion, which balances acid–base concentrations. This further contributes to blood pressure regulation.
Now that we have discussed the role of mineralocorticoids in the body, we can answer our question. Aldosterone is a mineralocorticoid that influences mineral and water concentrations. In turn, this regulates vital processes such as blood pressure. Therefore, the correct answer to our question is (D). The primary function of hormones belonging to the group mineralocorticoids is to balance the mineral and water content of the body.