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Hypertension. 2000 Jun;35(6):1270-7.

Physiology and pathophysiology of the adipose tissue renin-angiotensin system.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Nephrology, Benjamin Franklin Clinic, Free University of Berlin Germany.


The renin-angiotensin system has long been recognized as an important regulator of systemic blood pressure and renal electrolyte homeostasis, and local renin-angiotensin systems have also been implicated in pathological changes of organ structure and function by modulation of gene expression, growth, fibrosis, and inflammatory response. Recently, substantial data have been accumulated in support of the notion that adipose tissue, besides other endocrine functions, also hosts a local renin-angiotensin system. In the first part of this review, we describe the components of the adipose tissue renin-angiotensin system in human and rodent animal models with respect to regulation of angiotensinogen expression and secretion, formation of angiotensin peptides, and the existence of angiotensin II receptors. In the second part, we describe the role of the adipose tissue renin-angiotensin system in the process of adipogenic differentiation and in the regulation of body weight. We also detail the differential regulation of the adipose tissue renin-angiotensin system in obesity and hypertension and thereby also speculate on its possible role in the development of obesity-associated hypertension. Although some findings on the adipose tissue renin-angiotensin system appear to be confusing, its involvement in the physiology and pathophysiology of adipose tissue has been confirmed by several functional studies. Nevertheless, future studies with more carefully described phenotypes are necessary to conclude whether obesity (by stimulation of adipogenic differentiation) and hypertension are associated with changes of renin-angiotensin system activity in adipose tissue. If so, the physiological relevance of this system in animal models and humans may warrant further interest.

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