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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X

Abstract

BECARI, C.; OLIVEIRA, E.B.  and  SALGADO, M.C.O.. Alternative pathways for angiotensin II generation in the cardiovascular system. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2011, vol.44, n.9, pp.914-919.  Epub July 22, 2011 ISSN 1414-431X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X2011007500093.

The classical renin-angiotensin system (RAS) consists of enzymes and peptides that regulate blood pressure and electrolyte and fluid homeostasis. Angiotensin II (Ang II) is one of the most important and extensively studied components of the RAS. The beneficial effects of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors in the treatment of hypertension and heart failure, among other diseases, are well known. However, it has been reported that patients chronically treated with effective doses of these inhibitors do not show suppression of Ang II formation, suggesting the involvement of pathways alternative to ACE in the generation of Ang II. Moreover, the finding that the concentration of Ang II is preserved in the kidney, heart and lungs of mice with an ACE deletion indicates the important role of alternative pathways under basal conditions to maintain the levels of Ang II. Our group has characterized the serine protease elastase-2 as an alternative pathway for Ang II generation from Ang I in rats. A role for elastase-2 in the cardiovascular system was suggested by studies performed in heart and conductance and resistance vessels of normotensive and spontaneously hypertensive rats. This mini-review will highlight the pharmacological aspects of the RAS, emphasizing the role of elastase-2, an alternative pathway for Ang II generation.

Keywords : Renin-angiotensin system; Angiotensin II; Rat elastase-2; Alternative pathway; Angiotensin-converting enzyme.

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