Significance: Angiotensin II (Ang II) influences the function of many cell types and regulates many organ systems, in large part through redox-sensitive processes. In the vascular system, Ang II is a potent vasoconstrictor and also promotes inflammation, hypertrophy, and fibrosis, which are important in vascular damage and remodeling in cardiovascular diseases. The diverse actions of Ang II are mediated via Ang II type 1 and Ang II type 2 receptors, which couple to various signaling molecules, including NADPH oxidase (Nox), which generates reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are now recognized as signaling molecules, critically placed in pathways activated by Ang II. Mechanisms linking Nox and Ang II are complex and not fully understood.
Recent advances: Ang II regulates vascular cell production of ROS through various recently characterized Noxs, including Nox1, Nox2, Nox4, and Nox5. Activation of these Noxs leads to ROS generation, which in turn influences many downstream signaling targets of Ang II, including MAP kinases, RhoA/Rho kinase, transcription factors, protein tyrosine phosphatases, and tyrosine kinases. Activation of these redox-sensitive pathways regulates vascular cell growth, inflammation, contraction, and senescence.
Critical issues: Although there is much evidence indicating a role for Nox/ROS in Ang II function, there is still a paucity of information on how Ang II exerts cell-specific effects through ROS and how Nox isoforms are differentially regulated by Ang II. Moreover, exact mechanisms whereby ROS induce oxidative modifications of signaling molecules mediating Ang II actions remain elusive.
Future directions: Future research should elucidate these issues to better understand the significance of Ang II and ROS in vascular (patho) biology.