It has been recently suggested that 16α,18-dihydroxydeoxycorticosterone (16α,18-diOHDOC) may act as a "positive allosteric effector" of the binding of aldosterone to mineralocorticoid receptors. To test this hypothesis, a series of in vitro and in vivo studies examining the effect of 16α,18-diOHDOC on tritiated aldosterone (3HA) binding to mineralocorticoid receptors was performed. Using kidney slices from adrenalectomized rats, in vitro incubations were made for 20′ at 37C, over a range of concentrations of 3HA plus tenfold dexamethasone to confine tracer binding to mineralocorticoid receptors. At no concentration of 3HA did 16α,18-diOHDOC enhance binding; at all tracer concentrations a slight competing effect was observed. When 3HA was injected into rats in vivo with and without 16α,18-diOHDOC, a similar insignificant displacement of 3HA binding was seen in renal cytoplasmic fractions from adrenalectomized test rats. Additional in vitro studies were performed in an attempt to elucidate the mechanism of postulated action of 16α,18-diOHDOC. Neither renal cytoplasmic binding of oestradiol, postulated as a secondary pathway for steroid influenced Na+ retention, nor the binding of dexamethasone to renal glucocorticoid receptors, was altered by 16α,18-diOHDOC. Binding of tritiated 16α,18-iOHDOC in renal cyto-plasmic fractions was shown to be non specific, in that it could not be displaced by excess unlabelled 16α,18-diOHDOC. Finally, in a series of in vivo experiments using adrenalectomized rats, we could not show any effect of 16α,18-diOHDOC on urinary electrolyte excretion, either alone or in combination with low doses of aldosterone. Accordingly, we can find no evidence for 16α-diOHDOC having a direct effect on the kidney: in particular, there would appear as yet no molecular evidence for 16α,18-diOHDOC being a positive allosteric effector of aldosterone.