Review article: pancreatic renin-angiotensin systems in health and disease

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Oct;34(8):840-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2011.04810.x. Epub 2011 Aug 19.


Background: In addition to the circulating (endocrine) renin-angiotensin system (RAS), local renin-angiotensin systems are now known to exist in diverse cells and tissues. Amongst these, pancreatic renin-angiotensin systems have recently been identified and may play roles in the physiological regulation of pancreatic function, as well as being implicated in the pathogenesis of pancreatic diseases including diabetes, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.

Aim: To review and summarise current knowledge of pancreatic renin-angiotensin systems.

Methods: We performed an extensive PubMed, Medline and online review of all relevant literature.

Results: Pancreatic RAS appear to play various roles in the regulation of pancreatic physiology and pathophysiology. Ang II may play a role in the development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, via stimulation of angiogenesis and prevention of chemotherapy toxicity, as well as in the initiation and propagation of acute pancreatitis (AP); whereas, RAS antagonism is capable of preventing new-onset diabetes and improving glycaemic control in diabetic patients. Current evidence for the roles of pancreatic RAS is largely based upon cell and animal models, whilst definitive evidence from human studies remains lacking.

Conclusions: The therapeutic potential for RAS antagonism, using cheap and widely available agents, and may be untapped and such roles are worthy of active investigation in diverse pancreatic disease states.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensins / physiology
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Pancreatitis / physiopathology*
  • Receptors, Angiotensin / metabolism
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology*


  • Angiotensins
  • Receptors, Angiotensin