The apelinergic system: the role played in human physiology and pathology and potential therapeutic applications

Arq Bras Cardiol. 2008 May;90(5):343-9. doi: 10.1590/s0066-782x2008000500012.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Apelin is a recently discovered peptide, identified as an endogenous ligand of receptor APJ. Apelin and receptor APJ are expressed in a wide variety of tissues including heart, brain, kidneys and lungs. Their interaction may have relevant pathophysiologic effects in those tissues. In fact, the last decade has been rich in illustrating the possible roles played by apelin in human physiology, namely as a regulating peptide of cardiovascular, hypothalamus-hypophysis, gastrointestinal, and immune systems. The possible involvement of apelin in the pathogenesis of high prevalence conditions and comorbidities - such as hypertension, heart failure, and Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 (T2DM) - rank it as a likely therapeutic target to be investigated in the future. The present paper is an overview of apelin physiologic effects and presents the possible role played by this peptide in the pathogenesis of a number of conditions as well as the therapeutic implications that might, therefore, be investigated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apelin
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology*


  • APLN protein, human
  • Apelin
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled