The desexycorticosterone-mimetic action of ammoniated glycyrrhizin on electrolyte and water metabolism and on pituitary-adrenal function, was demonstrated in rats. Retention of sodium and water was observed in both intact and adrenalectomized rats during 4 hour minerosteroid assays, the degree of retention being a function of log dose. In intact rats, the antidiuretic effect of glycyrrhizin was immediate and cumulative, while retention of sodium appeared only after a latent period and did not increase with time. Adrenalectomized rats, 3 days after the operation, showed a more marked antidiuretic effect than intact rats, but no greater retention of sodium.
Rats receiving glycyrrhizin prior to histamine stress showed a marked decrease in adrenal ascorbic acid depletion, suggesting that glycyrrhizin had suppressed the output of ACTH.
Whether glycyrrhizin acts on the same target organ as desoxycorticosterone in producing sodium and water retention is still an open question. However, the fact that it is capable of producing a pituitary-adrenal inhibition which resembles that of naturally occurring adrenal steroids is further evidence of the strong pharmacological resemblance between glycyrrhizin and desoxycorticosterone.