Effects of ACE-inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers on inflammation

Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(28):4385-413. doi: 10.2174/138161212802481282.


The role of inflammation in cardiovascular disease and in hypertensive disease above all, is complex. Several studies confirm that activation of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), through increase in the production of angiotensin II (Ang II), is closely related to local vascular inflammation. Over the BP lowering effects of anti-hypertensive treatments, several ancillary effects for every class may be found, distinguishing the various drugs from one another. Given the pro-inflammatory effects of Ang II and aldosterone, agents that interfere with the components of RAAS, such as ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs), and mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (spironolactone or the more selective eplerenone), represent logical therapeutic tools to reduce vascular inflammation and cardiovascular risk, as suggested in large clinical trials in patients with hypertension and diabetes. Regarding ACE inhibitors, actually there is no convincing evidence indicating that ACEi's reduce plasma levels of major inflammatory markers in hypertension models. Lack of evidence concerns especially these inflammation markers, such as fibrinogen of CRP, which are less closely related to atherosclerotic disease and vascular damage and conversely are affected by several more aspecific factors. Results obtained by trials accomplished using ARBs seem to be more univocal to confirm, although to great extent, these is an anti-inflammatory effect of drugs blocking AT1 receptor. In order to strictly study the effects of blockage of RAAS on inflammation, future studies may explore different strategies by, for example, simultaneously acting on the ACE and the AT1 angiotensin receptors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects


  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors