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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2003 Jun;35(6):759-68.

Local renin-angiotensin systems: the unanswered questions.

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Department of Pharmacology, room EE1418b, Erasmus Medical Centre, Dr. Molewaterplein 50, 3015 GE Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


The concept of local renin-angiotensin systems has been introduced almost 20 years ago to explain the beneficial blood pressure-independent effects of ACE inhibitors and AT(1) receptor antagonists in cardiovascular diseases. In the past decade, research has focussed on the local effects of angiotensin II rather than on the mechanism(s) of its local generation. This review addresses several of the unanswered questions with regard to tissue angiotensin II generation, focussing in particular on the heart and vascular wall: (1) what is the origin of the renin that is required to generate angiotensin II locally, (2) where does tissue angiotensin generation occur (intra- versus extracellular), (3) what is the importance of alternative (non-renin, non-ACE) angiotensin-generating enzymes, (4) do ACE inhibitors and AT(1) receptor antagonists exert local effects that are renin-angiotensin system independent (thereby incorrectly leading to the conclusion that they interfere with the local generation or effects of angiotensin II), and (5) to what degree do differences in tissue angiotensin generation underlie the association between cardiovascular diseases and renin-angiotensin system gene polymorphisms?

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