The role of angiotensin II in cognition and behaviour

Eur J Pharmacol. 2002 Mar 1;438(1-2):1-14. doi: 10.1016/s0014-2999(02)01283-9.


Polymorphisms of the renin-angiotensin system are associated with cardiovascular disorders, possibly as a consequence of increased brain angiotensin II activity. Within the brain, angiotensin controls blood pressure, fluid balance and hormone secretion; it also influences behaviour: reduction of central angiotensin function has both antidepressant-like and axiolytic-like actions. Evidence concerning the role of the renin-angiotensin system in learning and memory is contradictory, although more studies support the proposal that angiotensin reduces cognitive function. Studies of renin-angiotensin system genotype and psychological status have suggested an association between the angiotensin-converting enzyme deletion allele and age related cognitive decline, but a greater prevalence of the insertion allele in Alzheimer's disease. The deletion allele has also been associated with depressive illness, as has the M allele of the angiotensinogen gene although other studies have failed to replicate these findings. The role of the brain renin-angiotensin system in human psychopathology remains to be fully explored.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / genetics
  • Angiotensin II / pharmacology
  • Angiotensin II / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / genetics
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology


  • Angiotensin II