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J Mol Med (Berl). 2008 Jun;86(6):715-22. doi: 10.1007/s00109-008-0331-5. Epub 2008 Apr 2.

Brain renin angiotensin in disease.

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  • 1Keck Graduate Institute, 535 Watson Drive, Claremont, CA 91711, USA.


A brain renin angiotensin system (RAS) and its role in cardiovascular control and fluid homeostasis was at first controversial. This was because a circulating kidney-derived renin angiotensin system was so similar and well established. But, the pursuit of brain RAS has proven to be correct. In the course of accepting brain RAS, high standards of proof attracted state of the art techniques in all the new developments of biology. Consequently, brain RAS is a robust concept that has enlightened neuroscience as well as cardiovascular physiology and is a model neuropeptide system. Molecular biology confirmed the components of brain RAS and their location in the brain. Transgenic mice and rats bearing renin and extra copies of angiotensinogen genes revealed the importance of brain RAS. Cre-lox delivery in vectors has enabled pinpoint gene deletion of brain RAS in discrete brain nuclei. The new concept of brain RAS includes ACE-2, Ang1-7, and prorenin and Mas receptors. Angiotensin II (ANG II) generated in the brain by brain renin has many neural effects. It activates behavioral effects by selective activation of ANG II receptor subtypes in different locations. It regulates sympathetic activity and baroreflexes and contributes to neurogenic hypertension. New findings implicate brain RAS in a much wider range of neural effects. We review brain RAS involvement in Alzheimer's disease, stroke memory, and learning alcoholism stress depression. There is growing evidence to consider developing treatment strategies for a variety of neurological disease states based on brain RAS.

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