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Fed Proc. 1977 Apr;36(5):1771-5.

The renin-angiotensin system and the central nervous system.


One of several factors affecting the secretion of renin by the kidneys is the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic input is excitatory and is mediated by beta-adrenergic receptors, which are probably located on the membranes of the juxtaglomerular cells. Stimulation of sympathetic areas in the medulla, midbrain and hypothalamus raises blood pressure and increases renin secretion, whereas stimulation of other parts of the hypothalamus decreases blood pressure and renin output. The centrally active alpha-adrenergic agonist clonidine decreases renin secretion, lowers blood pressure, inhibits ACTH and vasopressin secretion, and increases growth hormone secretion in dogs. The effects on ACTH and growth hormone are abolished by administration of phenoxybenzamine into the third ventricle, whereas the effect on blood pressure is abolished by administration of phenoxybenzamine in the fourth ventricle without any effect on the ACTH and growth hormone responses. Fourth ventricular phenoxybenzamine decreases but does not abolish the inhibitory effect of clonidine on renin secretion. Circulating angiotensin II acts on the brain via the area postrema to raise blood pressure and via the subfornical organ to increase water intake. Its effect on vasopressin secretion is debated. The brain contains a renin-like enzyme, converting enzyme, renin substrate, and angiotensin. There is debate about the nature and physiological significance of the angiotensin II-generating enzyme in the brain, and about the nature of the angiotensin I and angiotensin II that have been reported to be present in the central nervous system. However, injection of angiotensin II into the cerebral ventricles produces drinking, increased secretion of vasopressin and ACTH, and increased blood pressure. The same responses are produced by intraventricular renin. Angiotensin II also facilitates sympathetic discharge in the periphery, and the possibility that it exerts a similar action on the adrenergic neurons in the brain merits investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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