Anti-inflammatory effects of angiotensin receptor blockers in the brain and the periphery

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2009 Sep;29(6-7):781-92. doi: 10.1007/s10571-009-9368-4. Epub 2009 Mar 4.


In addition to regulating blood pressure, angiotensin II (Ang II) exerts powerful pro-inflammatory effects in hypertension through stimulation of its AT(1) receptors, most clearly demonstrated in peripheral arteries and in the cerebral vasculature. Administration of Ang II receptor blockers (ARBs) decreases hypertension-related vascular inflammation in peripheral organs. In rodent models of genetic hypertension, ARBs reverse the inflammation in the cerebral microcirculation. We hypothesized that ARBs could be effective in inflammatory conditions beyond hypertension. Our more recent studies, summarized here, indicate that this is indeed the case. We used the model of systemic administration of the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS produces a robust initial inflammatory reaction, the innate immune response, in peripheral organs and in the brain. Pretreatment with the ARB candesartan significantly diminishes the response to LPS, including reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokine release to the general circulation and decreased production and release of the pro-inflammatory adrenal hormone aldosterone. In addition, the ARB very significantly decreased the LPS-induced gene expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and microglia activation in the brain. Our results demonstrate that AT(1) receptor activity is essential for the unrestricted development of full-scale innate immune response in the periphery and in the brain. ARBs, due to their immune response-limiting properties, may be considered as therapeutically useful in a number of inflammatory diseases of the peripheral organs and the brain.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Arteritis / drug therapy*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Encephalitis / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Microglia
  • Renin-Angiotensin System


  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal