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Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2016 Mar;36(2):259-79. doi: 10.1007/s10571-015-0327-y. Epub 2016 Mar 18.

Evidence to Consider Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers for the Treatment of Early Alzheimer's Disease.

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Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Georgetown University Medical Center, 4000 Reservoir Road, NW, Bldg. D, Room 287, Washington, DC, 20057, USA.


Alzheimer's disease is the most frequent type of dementia and diagnosed late in the progression of the illness when irreversible brain tissue loss has already occurred. For this reason, treatments have been ineffective. It is imperative to find novel therapies ameliorating modifiable risk factors (hypertension, stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and traumatic brain injury) and effective against early pathogenic mechanisms including alterations in cerebral blood flow leading to poor oxygenation and decreased access to nutrients, impaired glucose metabolism, chronic inflammation, and glutamate excitotoxicity. Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) fulfill these requirements. ARBs are directly neuroprotective against early injury factors in neuronal, astrocyte, microglia, and cerebrovascular endothelial cell cultures. ARBs protect cerebral blood flow and reduce injury to the blood brain barrier and neurological and cognitive loss in animal models of brain ischemia, traumatic brain injury, and Alzheimer's disease. These compounds are clinically effective against major risk factors for Alzheimer's disease: hypertension, stroke, chronic kidney disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and ameliorate age-dependent cognitive loss. Controlled studies on hypertensive patients, open trials, case reports, and database meta-analysis indicate significant therapeutic effects of ARBs in Alzheimer's disease. ARBs are safe compounds, widely used to treat cardiovascular and metabolic disorders in humans, and although they reduce hypertension, they do not affect blood pressure in normotensive individuals. Overall, there is sufficient evidence to consider long-term controlled clinical studies with ARBs in patients suffering from established risk factors, in patients with early cognitive loss, or in normal individuals when reliable biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease risk are identified.


Angiotensin II; Brain inflammation; Brain ischemia; Brain metabolism; Neurodegenerative diseases; Neurovascular coupling

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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