The components of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in progressive renal disease have been extensively investigated, indicating multiple actions beyond hemodynamic and salt/water homeostasis. Studies in various human diseases and in animal models have shown that angiotensin (Ang) I-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) are superior to other antihypertensive agents in protecting the kidney against progressive deterioration, even in conditions without systemic hypertension. These findings suggest that Ang II has nonhemodynamic effects in progressive renal disease. Interactions of the RAS with aldosterone and bradykinin may have impact on both blood pressure and tissue injury. The RAS is now recognized to be linked to induction of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) likely via both the type 1 (AT1) and type 4 (AT4) receptors, thus, promoting both thrombosis and fibrosis. A role of angiotensin in the regulation of immune injury and inflammation has also been identified. Polymorphisms of genes relevant to the RAS appear to affect the risk and course of cardiovascular and renal diseases and response to treatment. The beneficial effect on renal fibrosis of inhibiting the RAS likely reflects the central role that angiotensin has in regulating renal function and structure by its multifaceted actions. This article will focus on the role of the RAS in glomerular injury.
Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company