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J Hypertens. 2005 Mar;23(3):597-602.

Sodium status and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition: effects on plasma angiotensin-(1-7) in healthy man.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.



Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors provide effective intervention for cardiovascular and renal disease. Changes in angiotensin-(1-7) have been proposed to be involved in the mechanism of action of ACE inhibition (ACEi). In particular, an altered balance between angiotensin II and angiotensin-(1-7) might be involved. A shift in sodium status modifies the activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and the effects of ACEi, but its effects on angiotensin-(1-7) are unknown. We therefore studied the effect of a shift in sodium intake on angiotensin-(1-7), during placebo and ACEi.


A double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 17 healthy men. The subjects were studied for two 2-week periods: 20 mg/day enalapril and placebo. The first week of each period they used a 50 mmol Na+ diet [low sodium (LS)], the second week a 200 mmol Na+ diet. Angiotensin levels and blood pressure were measured at the end of each week.


During placebo, LS intake elicited a three-fold rise in ang-(1-7) that paralleled the rise in other components of the renin-angiotensin system. During ACEi LS did not affect angiotensin II, but did induce a clear-cut rise in angiotensin-(1-7)--to the extent that angiotensin-(1-7) was highest during combination of ACEi and LS. Consequently, during ACEi LS shifted the balance between angiotensin-(1-7) and angiotensin II towards angiotensin-(1-7).


The sodium status modifies levels of angiotensin-(1-7). During ACEi angiotensin-(1-7) is still subject to stimulation by sodium restriction, and provides opportunity for therapeutic manipulation. Exploration of this opportunity in patient populations may lead to strategies to improve therapeutic benefits of ACEi.

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