Conn's syndrome, also known as primary hyperaldosteronism, is a rare condition in which the body produces excessive levels of the hormone aldosterone, which is responsible for regulating sodium and potassium levels in the blood. Causes of this condition include tumors affecting the adrenal gland(s) or hereditary factors. Symptoms of Conn's syndrome may include hypertension, hypokalemia (low levels of potassium in the blood), hypernatremia (excessive levels of sodium in the blood), hyperkaluria (excessive levels of potassium in the urine), and high levels of alkalinity.
The two adrenal glands are triangular-shaped glands located on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands are made up of two parts. The outer part is called the adrenal cortex , and the inner part is called the adrenal medulla. The outer part produces hormones called corticosteroids, which regulate the body's metabolism, the balance of salt and water in the body, the immune system , and sexual function. The inner part, or adrenal medulla, produces hormones called catecholamines (for example, adrenaline). These hormones help the body cope with physical and emotional stress by increasing the heart rate and blood pressure.
Catecholamines are produced in chromaffin cells in the medulla of the adrenal gland, from tyrosine , a non-essential amino acid derived from food or produced from phenylalanine in the liver. The enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase converts tyrosine to L-DOPA in the first step of catecholamine synthesis. L-DOPA is then converted to dopamine before it can be turned into noradrenaline. In the cytosol , noradrenaline is converted to epinephrine by the enzyme phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT) and stored in granules. Glucocorticoids produced in the adrenal cortex stimulate the synthesis of catecholamines by increasing the levels of tyrosine hydroxylase and PNMT.