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Keywords:

  • angiotensin II;
  • inflammation;
  • autoimmune disease;
  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • longevity

Abstract

That the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) is involved in regulation of blood pressure, vasoconstriction, sodium intake and potassium excretion is well established. Studies in the last few years have however documented new roles for this molecule as a pro-inflammatory molecule and more recently as a possible pro-fibrotic agent that contributes to progressive deterioration of organ function in disease. Binding of Ang II to its receptors (in particular AT1) mediates intracellular free radical generation that contributes to tissue damage by promoting mitochondrial dysfunction. Blocking Ang II signalling protects against neurodegenerative processes and promotes longevity in rodents. Altogether these findings open the unanticipated perspective for exploring Ang II signalling in therapeutic interventions in inflammatory diseases and aging-related tissue injury. This review extends from the discovery of Ang II and its implications in renal and cardiovascular physiology to cover the roles of the system in inflammation, tissue injury, autoimmunity, oxidative stress and aging.