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Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2004 Feb;8(1):7-14.

Angiotensin as a target for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, anxiety and depression.

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  • 1University of Brighton, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, UK.


The brain renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which is comprised of a variety of peptides including angiotensin II, angiotensin III and angiotensin IV acting on AT<inf>1</inf>, AT<inf>2</inf> and AT<inf>4</inf> receptors, is important in cognition and anxiety. Perturbation of the RAS improves basal cognition and reverses age-, scopolamine-, ethanol- and diabetes-induced deficits. In studies of dementias and Alzheimer's disease (AD), some studies have shown that antihypertensive drugs, including angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, have some moderate effects on cognitive decline, but that the angiotensin receptor antagonist losartan has a significantly beneficial effect. These findings suggest that angiotensin receptor ligands may have potential in the prevention or even reversal of vascular dementias and AD. With respect to depression and anxiety, there is similar experimental evidence from animal models that drugs acting on the RAS may be antidepressant or anxiolytic, but insufficient clinical data exist. Such effects, if proven, could promote the use of such agents in the treatment of hypertension coexisting with depression or anxiety.

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