Angiotensin II (AngII), the major effector peptide of renin-angiotensin system (RAS), is now recognized as a growth factor that regulates cell growth and fibrosis, besides being a physiological mediator restoring circulatory integrity. In the last few years, a large number of experimental studies has further demonstrated that AngII is involved in key events of the inflammatory process. Here, we summarize the wide variety of AngII functions and discuss them in relation with the inflammatory cascade. AngII increases vascular permeability (via the release of prostaglandins and vascular endothelial cell growth factor or rearrangement of cytoskeletal proteins) that initiates the inflammatory process. AngII could contribute to the recruitment of inflammatory cells into the tissue through the regulation of adhesion molecules and chemokines by resident cells. Moreover, AngII could directly activate infiltrating immunocompetent cells, including chemotaxis, differentiation and proliferation. Recent data also suggest that RAS activation could play a certain role even in immunologically-induced inflammation. Transcriptional regulation, predominantly via nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) and AP-1 activation, and second mediator systems, such as endothelin-1, the small G protein (Rho) and redox-pathways are shown to be involved in the molecular mechanism by which AngII exerts those functions. Finally, AngII participates in tissue repair and remodeling, through the regulation of cell growth and matrix synthesis. In summary, recent data support the hypothesis that RAS is key mediator of inflammation. Further understanding of the role of the RAS in this process may provide important opportunities for clinical research and treatment of inflammatory diseases.