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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2002 Aug;26(5):529-52.

Neural plasticity and the brain renin-angiotensin system.

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Department of Psychology and Program in Neuroscience, Washington State University, PO Box 644820, Pullman, WA 99164-4820, USA.


The brain renin-angiotensin system mediates several classic physiologies including body water balance, maintenance of blood pressure, cyclicity of reproductive hormones and sexual behaviors, and regulation of pituitary gland hormones. In addition, angiotensin peptides have been implicated in neural plasticity and memory. The present review initially describes the extracellular matrix (ECM) and the roles of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), matrix metalloproteinases, and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases in the maintenance and degradation of the ECM. It is the ECM that appears to permit synaptic remodeling and thus is critical to the plasticity that is presumed to underlie mechanisms of memory consolidation and retrieval. The interrelationship among long-term potentiation (LTP), CAMs, and synaptic strengthening is described, followed by the influence of angiotensins on LTP. There is strong support for an inhibitory influence by angiotensin II (AngII) and a facilitory role by angiotensin IV (AngIV), on LTP. Next, the influences of AngII and IV on associative and spatial memories are summarized. Finally, the impact of sleep deprivation on matrix metalloproteinases and memory function is described. Recent findings indicate that sleep deprivation-induced memory impairment is accompanied by a lack of appropriate changes in matrix metalloproteinases within the hippocampus and neocortex as compared with non-sleep deprived animals. These findings generally support an important contribution by angiotensin peptides to neural plasticity and memory consolidation.

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