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Mol Aspects Med. 2004 Feb-Apr;25(1-2):27-36.

Concerted action of the renin-angiotensin system, mitochondria, and antioxidant defenses in aging.

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  • 1Physical Chemistry-PRALIB, School of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires, Junin 956, 1113 Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) and AT-1 receptor blockers (ARB) are two types of drugs that inhibit the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), and can attenuate the progression to cardiac and/or renal functional impairment, secondary to diverse pathologies. Some of the beneficial effects of ACEi and ARB occur independently of the ability of these drugs to reduce arterial blood pressure. Both, in animals, and in humans, we observed an enhancement of antioxidant defenses that occurred after treatment with ACEi. Based on these results, we postulate that some of the beneficial health effects associated to RAS inhibition can be ascribed to the prevention of oxidant-mediated damage. Furthermore, considering that: (i). RAS inhibition attenuates certain age-associated degenerative changes; (ii). aging was postulated to result from the accumulation of oxidant-mediated damage; and (iii). mitochondria are a major source of oxidants, we studied potential associations among RAS inhibition, mitochondrial function and production of oxidants and nitric oxide, and aging. The results obtained suggest, that RAS inhibitors, i.e. enalapril and losartan, can protect against the effects of aging by attenuating oxidant damage to mitochondria, and in consequence, they preserve mitochondrial function. The mechanism(s) explaining such attenuation of oxidant damage can relay on a reduction of the ANG-II-dependent generation of superoxide and/or an increased detoxification of reactive nitrogen and oxygen species by recomposition of antioxidant defense levels.

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