Development of fetal brain renin-angiotensin system and hypertension programmed in fetal origins

Prog Neurobiol. 2009 Apr;87(4):252-63. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2008.12.001. Epub 2009 Jan 24.


Since the concept of fetal origins of adult diseases was introduced in 1980s, the development of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in normal and abnormal patterns has attracted attention. Recent studies have shown the importance of the fetal RAS in both prenatal and postnatal development. This review focuses on the functional development of the fetal brain RAS, and ontogeny of local brain RAS components in utero. The central RAS plays an important role in the control of fetal cardiovascular responses, body fluid balance, and neuroendocrine regulation. Recent progress has been made in demonstrating that altered fetal RAS development as a consequence of environmental insults may impact on "programming" of hypertension later in life. Given that the central RAS is of equal importance to the peripheral RAS in cardiovascular regulation, studies on the fetal brain RAS development in normal and abnormal patterns could shed light on "programming" mechanisms of adult cardiovascular diseases in fetal origins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Fetal Development*
  • Fetus / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / etiology
  • Hypertension* / physiopathology
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology*