Local expression and pathophysiological role of renin-angiotensin in the blood vessels and heart.
While the circulating renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays an important role in short-term maintenance of cardiovascular homeostasis, recent studies point to a role in long-term cardiovascular regulation for endogenous RAS in target tissues. This article focuses on the multiple effects of tissue angiotensin enzyme (ACE) and angiotensin II (Ang II), its active peptide product. Ang II has been shown to be a potent growth factor in vascular smooth muscle cells. Depending on the local conditions, the vascular response may be either hypertrophy or hyperplasia. The molecular mechanisms involved in the interactions of Ang II with endothelium- and smooth muscle-derived cell products may play important roles in the modulation of vascular structure in hypertension and vascular injury. Evidence also points to a role for Ang II in the development of left ventricular hypertrophy in hypertension. In addition, cardiac RAS may contribute to the pathophysiology of heart failure. Experimental and clinical studies with ACE inhibitors point to a role for tissue ACE activity in the development of atherosclerosis, as well as cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling.
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