Brain and peripheral angiotensin II play a major role in stress

Stress. 2007 Jun;10(2):185-93. doi: 10.1080/10253890701350735.


Angiotensin II (Ang II), the active principle of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), was discovered as a vasoconstrictive, fluid retentive circulating hormone. It was revealed later that there are local RAS in many organs, including the brain. The physiological receptor for Ang II, the AT(1) receptor type, was found to be highly expressed in many tissues and brain areas involved in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to stress and in the sympathoadrenal system. The production of circulating and local Ang II, and the expression of AT(1) receptors increase during stress. Blockade of peripheral and brain AT(1) receptors with receptor antagonists administered peripherally prevented the hormonal and sympathoadrenal response to isolation stress, the stress-related alterations in cortical CRF(1) and benzodiazepine receptors, part of the GABA(A) complex, and reduced anxiety in rodents. AT(1) receptor blockade prevented the ulcerations of the gastric mucosa produced by cold-restraint stress, by preservation of the gastric blood flow, prevention of the stress-induced inflammatory response of the gastric mucosa, and partial blockade of the sympathoadrenal response to the stress. Our observations demonstrate that Ang II is an important stress hormone, and that blockade of AT(1) receptors could be proposed as a potentially useful therapy for stress-induced disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / physiology*
  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Benzimidazoles / therapeutic use
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / physiology
  • Gastritis / prevention & control
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / physiology
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 2 / physiology
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology
  • Restraint, Physical / adverse effects
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology*
  • Tetrazoles / therapeutic use


  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers
  • Benzimidazoles
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 2
  • Tetrazoles
  • Angiotensin II
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • candesartan