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Hypertension. 2008 Oct;52(4):666-71. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.108.114058. Epub 2008 Aug 18.

Enhanced angiotensin II type 2 receptor mechanisms mediate decreases in arterial pressure attributable to chronic low-dose angiotensin II in female rats.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.


The renin-angiotensin system is a far more complex enzymatic cascade than realized previously. Mounting evidence suggests sex-specific differences in the regulation of the renin-angiotensin system and arterial pressure. We examined the hemodynamic responses, angiotensin II receptor subtypes, and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 gene expression levels after graded doses of angiotensin II in males and females. Mean arterial pressure was measured via telemetry in male and female rats in response to a 2-week infusion of vehicle, low-dose (50 ng/kg per minute SC) or high-dose (400 ng/kg per minute SC) angiotensin II. The effect of concurrent infusion of the angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT(2)R) blocker (PD123319) was also examined. The arterial pressure response to high-dose angiotensin II was attenuated in females compared with males (24+/-8 mm Hg versus 42+/-5 mm Hg; P for the interaction between sex and treatment <0.002). Remarkably, low-dose angiotensin II decreased arterial pressure (11+/-4 mm Hg; P for the interaction between sex and treatment <0.02) at a dose that did not have an effect in males. This decrease in arterial pressure in females was abolished by AT(2)R blockade. Renal AT(2)R, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, and left ventricular AT(2)R mRNA gene expressions were markedly greater in females than in males with a renal angiotensin II type 1a receptor:AT(2)R ratio of approximately 1 in females. Angiotensin II infusion did not affect renal AT(2)R mRNA expression but resulted in significantly less left ventricular mRNA expression. Renal angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 mRNA expression levels were greater in females than in males treated with high-dose angiotensin II (approximately 2.5 fold; P for the interaction between sex and treatment <0.05). In females, enhancement of the vasodilatory arm of the renin-angiotensin system, in particular, AT(2)R and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 mRNA expression, may contribute to the sex-specific differences in response to renin-angiotensin system activation.

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