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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2016 Jan 15;310(2):H137-52. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00618.2015. Epub 2015 Oct 16.

Biochemical evaluation of the renin-angiotensin system: the good, bad, and absolute?

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The Hypertension and Vascular Research Center, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina


The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) constitutes a key hormonal system in the physiological regulation of blood pressure through peripheral and central mechanisms. Indeed, dysregulation of the RAS is considered a major factor in the development of cardiovascular pathologies, and pharmacological blockade of this system by the inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) or antagonism of the angiotensin type 1 receptor (AT1R) offers an effective therapeutic regimen. The RAS is now defined as a system composed of different angiotensin peptides with diverse biological actions mediated by distinct receptor subtypes. The classic RAS comprises the ACE-ANG II-AT1R axis that promotes vasoconstriction; water intake; sodium retention; and increased oxidative stress, fibrosis, cellular growth, and inflammation. In contrast, the nonclassical RAS composed primarily of the ANG II/ANG III-AT2R and the ACE2-ANG-(1-7)-AT7R pathways generally opposes the actions of a stimulated ANG II-AT1R axis. In lieu of the complex and multifunctional aspects of this system, as well as increased concerns on the reproducibility among laboratories, a critical assessment is provided on the current biochemical approaches to characterize and define the various components that ultimately reflect the status of the RAS.


ACE; angiotensin; heart; renin

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