Effects of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors and beta-blockers on markers of arterial stiffness

J Am Soc Hypertens. 2014 Feb;8(2):74-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jash.2013.09.001. Epub 2013 Oct 17.


Antihypertensive agents may, even within the same class, exert variable effects on arterial stiffness variables. Nebivolol could have a better impact than atenolol on arterial stiffness, by increasing the bioavailability of endothelium-derived nitric oxide. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) increase plasma renin activity (enhancing the production of angiotensin II via non-ACE-related pathways) whereas aliskiren does not, potentially affecting central hemodynamics differently. We compared the effects of two renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors (quinapril and aliskiren) and 2 beta-blockers (atenolol and nebivolol) on arterial stiffness variables. Treatment-naïve patients (n = 72; 68.1% males; age, 47.6 ± 10.6 years) with uncomplicated stage I-II essential hypertension were randomly assigned to quinapril, aliskiren, atenolol, or nebivolol for 10 weeks. Central systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP), central pulse pressure (PP), augmentation index (AIx), and pulse wave velocity (PWV) were measured at baseline, 2, and 10 weeks. The same measurements were performed in 20 normotensive subjects (65.0% males; age, 40.0 ± 8.9 years). Peripheral and central systolic and diastolic BP, peripheral PP, and PWV were significantly and similarly reduced by all agents. However, PWV continued to decline between the second and last visit in patients on quinapril and aliskiren but did not change in those on nebivolol or atenolol. Central PP and AIx decreased in patients on quinapril, aliskiren, and nebivolol but did not change in those taking atenolol. The decrease in central PP and AIx did not differ between patients on quinapril, aliskiren, and nebivolol. Despite similar reductions in peripheral BP, atenolol is less effective than nebivolol and RAAS inhibitors in improving central pulsatile hemodynamics. Aliskiren exerts similar effects on markers of arterial stiffness as quinapril. The clinical relevance of these differences remains to be established.

Keywords: Antihypertensive treatment; augmentation index; central blood pressure; pulse wave velocity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Adult
  • Amides* / administration & dosage
  • Amides* / adverse effects
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Female
  • Fumarates* / administration & dosage
  • Fumarates* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / diagnosis
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Hypertension* / metabolism
  • Hypertension* / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Quinapril
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects
  • Tetrahydroisoquinolines* / administration & dosage
  • Tetrahydroisoquinolines* / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Stiffness / drug effects*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Amides
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Fumarates
  • Tetrahydroisoquinolines
  • Nitric Oxide
  • aliskiren
  • Quinapril