Combined Angiotensin Receptor Modulation in the Management of Cardio-Metabolic Disorders

Drugs. 2016 Jan;76(1):1-12. doi: 10.1007/s40265-015-0509-4.


Cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, such as hypertension, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia or obesity are linked with chronic low-grade inflammation and dysregulation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Consequently, RAS inhibition by ACE inhibitors or angiotensin AT1 receptor (AT1R) blockers is the evidence-based standard for cardiovascular risk reduction in high-risk patients, including diabetics with albuminuria. In addition, RAS inhibition reduces the new onset of diabetes mellitus. Yet, the high and increasing prevalence of metabolic disorders, and the high residual risk even in properly treated patients, calls for additional means of pharmacological intervention. In the past decade, the stimulation of the angiotensin AT2 receptor (AT2R) has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve cardiac and vascular remodeling, enhance insulin sensitivity and increase adiponectin production. Therefore, a concept of dual AT1R/AT2R modulation emerges as a putative means for risk reduction in cardio-metabolic diseases. The approach employing simultaneous RAS blockade (AT1R) and RAS stimulation (AT2R) is distinct from previous attempts of double intervention in the RAS by dual blockade. Dual blockade abolishes the AT1R-linked RAS almost completely with subsequent risk of hypotension and hypotension-related events, i.e. syncope or renal dysfunction. Such complications might be especially prominent in patients with renal impairment or patients with isolated systolic hypertension and normal-to-low diastolic blood pressure values. In contrast to dual RAS blockade, the add-on of AT2R stimulation does not exert significant blood pressure effects, but it may complement and enhance the anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic/de-stiffening effects of the AT1R blockade and improve the metabolic profile. Further studies will have to investigate these putative effects in particular for settings in which blood pressure reduction is not primarily desired.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / pharmacology*
  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Metabolic Diseases / complications
  • Metabolic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Metabolic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 2 / agonists*
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects*


  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 2