The "his and hers" of the renin-angiotensin system

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2013 Feb;15(1):71-9. doi: 10.1007/s11906-012-0319-y.


Sex differences exist in the regulation of arterial pressure and renal function by the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). This may in part stem from a differential balance in the pressor and depressor arms of the RAS. In males, the ACE/AngII/AT(1)R pathways are enhanced, whereas, in females, the balance is shifted towards the ACE2/Ang(1-7)/MasR and AT(2)R pathways. Evidence clearly demonstrates that premenopausal women, as compared to aged-matched men, are protected from renal and cardiovascular disease, and this differential balance of the RAS between the sexes likely contributes. With aging, this cardiovascular protection in women is lost and this may be related to loss of estrogen postmenopause but the possible contribution of other sex hormones needs to be further examined. Restoration of these RAS depressor pathways in older women, or up-regulation of these in males, represents a therapeutic target that is worth pursuing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Estrogens / physiology
  • Female
  • Genes, sry / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Receptors, Angiotensin / physiology
  • Renin / blood
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology*
  • Sex Chromosomes / physiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Testosterone / physiology


  • Estrogens
  • MAS1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Receptors, Angiotensin
  • Testosterone
  • Renin