Local angiotensin II-generating system in vascular tissues: the roles of chymase

Hypertens Res. 2001 May;24(3):189-93. doi: 10.1291/hypres.24.189.


Roles of each angiotensin II producing enzymes of each of the angiotensin II-producing enzymes were reviewed based on experimental models. In vascular tissues, angiotensin II is potentially cleaved from angiotensin I by angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and chymase. It has been confirmed that vascular tissues of humans, monkeys, dogs and hamsters have a chymase-dependent angiotensin II-forming pathway. Much like other hypertensive models, hamster hypertensive models show high levels of vascular ACE activity, but not chymase activity. In hypertensive hamsters, administration of either an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor antagonist resulted in similar reductions in blood pressure, suggesting that chymase is not involved in the maintenance of high blood pressure in this model. In monkeys fed a high-cholesterol diet, ACE activity was increased in the atherosclerotic lesions, and an ACE inhibitor and an AT1 receptor antagonist prevented atherosclerosis to a similar degree, suggesting that ACE may be mainly involved in the development of atherosclerosis. After balloon injury in dog vessels, both ACE and chymase activities were locally increased about 3-fold in the injured arteries, and an AT1 receptor antagonist was effective in preventing the intimal formation, but an ACE inhibitor was ineffective. In dog grafted veins, the activities of chymase were increased 15-fold, but those of ACE were increased only 2-fold, and the intimal formation was suppressed by either an AT1 receptor antagonist or a chymase inhibitor. In the normal vascular tissues, ACE plays a crucial role for angiotensin II production, whereas chymase is stored in mast cells in an inactive form. Chymase acquires the ability to form angiotensin II following mast cells activation followed by mast cells activation by a strong stimulus such as occurs in catheter-injury or grafting. Together, these results indicate that chymase plays a major role in the vascular angiotensin II-generating system, particularly in cases of vascular injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Arteries / enzymology*
  • Chymases
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / metabolism*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism*


  • Angiotensin II
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • Chymases