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Nat Clin Pract Cardiovasc Med. 2004 Nov;1(1):42-7.

Mechanisms of disease: local renin-angiotensin-aldosterone systems and the pathogenesis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

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Research Division, Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, LA 70121, USA.


Accumulating evidence has made it clear that not only does the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) exist in the circulation where it is driven by renal renin, but it is also active in many tissues-and likely within cells as well. These systems might not be completely independent of each other, but rather interact. These local RAASs affect tissue and cellular angiotensin II concentrations and appear to be associated with clinically relevant physiologic and pathophysiologic actions in the cardiovascular system and elsewhere. Evidence in support of this possibility is reviewed here. In addition, direct (pro)renin action after binding to its specific receptor, the existence of renin transcripts, which apparently encode an intracellular renin, the discovery of an angiotensin-converting-enzyme homologue (ACE2), which leads to enhanced generation of angiotensin-(1-7) and the newly appreciated role of angiotensin-receptor dimerization in the regulation of angiotensin activity, all point to the conclusion that the RAASs are complexly regulated, multifunctional systems with important roles both within and outside the cardiovascular system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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