Apelin in the control of body fluid homeostasis and cardiovascular functions

Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(6):789-98. doi: 10.2174/138161212799277770.


The discovery of apelin, an endogenous ligand of the orphan APJ receptor is an important advance for fundamental research and clinical medicine. Apelin and its receptor have a wide tissue distribution not only in the brain but also in peripheral organs including kidney, heart, vessels, and adipose tissue. Apelin is implicated in many physiological and pathophysiological processes such as the regulation of body fluid homeostasis, cardiovascular functions, glucose homeostasis, cell proliferation, and angiogenesis. This review focuses on, i) the various signaling cascades evoked upon stimulation of the apelin receptor by the different molecular forms of apelin found in vivo, ii) the distribution of apelin and its receptor in the brain and the cardiovascular system, iii) the opposing actions of vasopressin and apelin in the regulation of water balance at the central and kidney levels, and on the cardiovascular system regarding regulation of arterial blood pressure, vascular tone, and cardiac function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apelin
  • Body Fluids / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*


  • APLN protein, human
  • Apelin
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins