Angiotensin II, through AT1 receptor stimulation, mediates multiple cardiovascular, metabolic, and behavioral functions including the response to stressors. Conversely, the function of Angiotensin II AT2 receptors has not been totally clarified. In adult rodents, AT2 receptor distribution is very limited but it is particularly high in the adrenal medulla. Recent results strongly indicate that AT2 receptors contribute to the regulation of the response to stress stimuli. This occurs in association with AT1 receptors, both receptor types reciprocally influencing their expression and therefore their function. AT2 receptors appear to influence the response to many types of stressors and in all components of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. The molecular mechanisms involved in AT2 receptor activation, the complex interactions with AT1 receptors, and additional factors participating in the control of AT2 receptor regulation and activity in response to stressors are only partially understood. Further research is necessary to close this knowledge gap and to clarify whether AT2 receptor activation may carry the potential of a major translational advance.
Keywords: AT2 receptors; Adrenal medulla; Angiotensin II; Catecholamines; Stress; Sympathoadrenal response.