A number of chemical modifications in the spironolactone molecule were attempted over the last decade to synthesize ligands with high affinity for the mineralocorticoid receptor (MCR), and for possible use in the clinical control of the hypertensive disease. ZK 91587 has been commercialized as the ‘ideal’ ligand for the MCR, replacing the natural hormone aldosterone. None of the derivatives was retained for possible clinical use as an improvement over Canrenone or Spironolactone. No apparent correlation could be drawn between affinity for the MCR in vitro and biological potency in vivo. Such considerations challenge classical notions regarding the receptor mediated hormone action.