Brain renin-angiotensin system in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases

Pharmacol Res. 2017 Nov;125(Pt A):72-90. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2017.06.016. Epub 2017 Jul 5.


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are among the main causes of death globally and in this context hypertension represents one of the key risk factors for developing a CVD. It is well established that the peripheral renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays an important role in regulating blood pressure (BP). All components of the classic RAS can also be found in the brain but, in contrast to the peripheral RAS, how the endogenous RAS is involved in modulating cardiovascular effects in the brain is not fully understood yet. It is a complex system that may work differently in diverse areas of the brain and is linked to the peripheral system by the circumventricular organs (CVO), which do not have a blood brain barrier (BBB). In this review, we focus on the brain angiotensin peptides, their interactions with each other, and the consequences in the central nervous system (CNS) concerning cardiovascular control. Additionally, we present potential drug targets in the brain RAS for the treatment of hypertension.

Keywords: Angiotensin (1–7); Angiotensin II; Angiotensin III; Brain renin-angiotensin system; Cardiovascular disease; Hypertension.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology*


  • Angiotensins