The renin-angiotensin system has a varied role in the regulation of cardiac function, ranging from early receptor-mediated effects such as second messenger generation, to more delayed responses such as protein synthesis and cell growth. Clinically, the importance of the RAS in cardiovascular disease is becoming increasingly evident with the use of ACE inhibitors in treating various pathological processes. With evidence for the existence of a local RAS in the heart, the molecular and biochemical regulation of this system requires investigation. Much additional work needs to be directed toward elucidating the mechanisms by which the AII-receptor couples to cardiac growth, how the local RAS is regulated, and the nature of controls that modulate cardiac production and actions of this peptide. Increased understanding of the mechanisms by which AII actions are affected in cardiac tissue will likely lead to enhanced therapeutic modalities for the treatment of pathological cardiovascular conditions in which the RAS plays an integral role.