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Concept: Renin-angiotensin system


Hypertension is the most common condition seen in primary care and leads to myocardial infarction, stroke, renal failure, and death if not detected early and treated appropriately. Patients want to be assured that blood pressure (BP) treatment will reduce their disease burden, while clinicians want guidance on hypertension management using the best scientific evidence. This report takes a rigorous, evidence-based approach to recommend treatment thresholds, goals, and medications in the management of hypertension in adults. Evidence was drawn from randomized controlled trials, which represent the gold standard for determining efficacy and effectiveness. Evidence quality and recommendations were graded based on their effect on important outcomes. There is strong evidence to support treating hypertensive persons aged 60 years or older to a BP goal of less than 150/90 mm Hg and hypertensive persons 30 through 59 years of age to a diastolic goal of less than 90 mm Hg; however, there is insufficient evidence in hypertensive persons younger than 60 years for a systolic goal, or in those younger than 30 years for a diastolic goal, so the panel recommends a BP of less than 140/90 mm Hg for those groups based on expert opinion. The same thresholds and goals are recommended for hypertensive adults with diabetes or nondiabetic chronic kidney disease (CKD) as for the general hypertensive population younger than 60 years. There is moderate evidence to support initiating drug treatment with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, angiotensin receptor blocker, calcium channel blocker, or thiazide-type diuretic in the nonblack hypertensive population, including those with diabetes. In the black hypertensive population, including those with diabetes, a calcium channel blocker or thiazide-type diuretic is recommended as initial therapy. There is moderate evidence to support initial or add-on antihypertensive therapy with an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker in persons with CKD to improve kidney outcomes. Although this guideline provides evidence-based recommendations for the management of high BP and should meet the clinical needs of most patients, these recommendations are not a substitute for clinical judgment, and decisions about care must carefully consider and incorporate the clinical characteristics and circumstances of each individual patient.

Concepts: Stroke, ACE inhibitor, Renin-angiotensin system, Angiotensin II receptor antagonist, Chronic kidney disease, Myocardial infarction, Blood pressure, Hypertension


Recent studies have described that the Notch signaling pathway is activated in a wide range of renal diseases. Angiotensin II (AngII) plays a key role in the progression of kidney diseases. AngII contributes to renal fibrosis by upregulation of profibrotic factors, induction of epithelial mesenchymal transition and accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins. In cultured human tubular epithelial cells the Notch activation by transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) has been involved in epithelial mesenchymal transition. AngII mimics many profibrotic actions of TGF-β1. For these reasons, our aim was to investigate whether AngII could regulate the Notch/Jagged system in the kidney, and its potential role in AngII-induced responses. In cultured human tubular epithelial cells, TGF-β1, but not AngII, increased the Notch pathway-related gene expression, Jagged-1 synthesis, and caused nuclear translocation of the activated Notch. In podocytes and renal fibroblasts, AngII did not modulate the Notch pathway. In tubular epithelial cells, pharmacological Notch inhibition did not modify AngII-induced changes in epithelial mesenchymal markers, profibrotic factors and extracellular matrix proteins. Systemic infusion of AngII into rats for 2 weeks caused tubulointerstitial fibrosis, but did not upregulate renal expression of activated Notch-1 or Jagged-1, as observed in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Moreover, the Notch/Jagged system was not modulated by AngII type I receptor blockade in the model of unilateral ureteral obstruction in mice. These data clearly indicate that AngII does not regulate the Notch/Jagged signaling system in the kidney, in vivo and in vitro. Our findings showing that the Notch pathway is not involved in AngII-induced fibrosis could provide important information to understand the complex role of Notch system in the regulation of renal regeneration vs damage progression.

Concepts: Ureter, Endocrine system, Renal pelvis, Kidney, Extracellular matrix, Renin-angiotensin system, Chronic kidney disease, Blood pressure


Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is a zinc-dependent peptidase responsible for converting angiotensin I into the vasoconstrictor angiotensin II. However, ACE is a relatively nonspecific peptidase that is capable of cleaving a wide range of substrates. Because of this, ACE and its peptide substrates and products affect many physiologic processes, including blood pressure control, hematopoiesis, reproduction, renal development, renal function, and the immune response. The defining feature of ACE is that it is composed of two homologous and independently catalytic domains, the result of an ancient gene duplication, and ACE-like genes are widely distributed in nature. The two ACE catalytic domains contribute to the wide substrate diversity of ACE and, by extension, the physiologic impact of the enzyme. Several studies suggest that the two catalytic domains have different biologic functions. Recently, the X-ray crystal structure of ACE has elucidated some of the structural differences between the two ACE domains. This is important now that ACE domain-specific inhibitors have been synthesized and characterized. Once widely available, these reagents will undoubtedly be powerful tools for probing the physiologic actions of each ACE domain. In turn, this knowledge should allow clinicians to envision new therapies for diseases not currently treated with ACE inhibitors.

Concepts: Blood pressure, Physiology, Angiotensin, Angiotensin-converting enzyme, Enzyme, Renin-angiotensin system, Evolution, DNA


Angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)] is a biologically active heptapeptide that may counterbalance the physiological actions of angiotensin II (Ang II) within the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Here, we evaluated whether activation of the Mas receptor with the oral agonist, AVE 0991, would have renoprotective effects in a model of adriamycin (ADR)-induced nephropathy. We also evaluated whether the Mas receptor contributed for the protective effects of treatment with AT1 receptor blockers. ADR (10 mg/kg) induced significant renal injury and dysfunction that was maximal at day 14 after injection. Treatment with the Mas receptor agonist AVE 0991 improved renal function parameters, reduced urinary protein loss and attenuated histological changes. Renoprotection was associated with reduction in urinary levels of TGF-β. Similar renoprotection was observed after treatment with the AT1 receptor antagonist, Losartan. AT1 and Mas receptor mRNA levels dropped after ADR administration and treatment with losartan reestablished the expression of Mas receptor and increased the expression of ACE2. ADR-induced nephropathy was similar in wild type (Mas(+/+) ) and Mas knockout (Mas (-/-)) mice, suggesting there was no endogenous role for Mas receptor activation. However, treatment with Losartan was able to reduce renal injury only in Mas(+/+) , but not in Mas (-/-) mice. Therefore, these findings suggest that exogenous activation of the Mas receptor protects from ADR-induced nephropathy and contributes to the beneficial effects of AT1 receptor blockade. Medications which target specifically the ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis may offer new therapeutic opportunities to treat human nephropathies.

Concepts: Agonist, Angiotensin, Renin-angiotensin system, Physiology, Angiotensin receptor, Receptor theory, Inverse agonist, Receptor antagonist


Primary aldosteronism (PA) secondary to excessive and/or autonomous aldosterone secretion from the renin angiotensin system (RAS) accounts for approximately 10% of cases of hypertension and is primarily caused by bilateral adrenal hyperplasia (BAH) or aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs). Although the diagnosis has traditionally been supported by low serum potassium levels, normokalemic and even normotensive forms of PA have been identified expanding further the clinical phenotype. Morever, recent evidence has shown that serum aldosterone correlates with increased blood pressure in the general population and even moderately raised aldosterone levels are linked to increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In addition, aldosterone antagonists are effective in blood pressure control even in patients without evidence of dysregulated aldosterone secretion. These findings indicate a higher prevalence of aldosterone excess among hypertensive patients than previously considered that could be attributed to disease heterogeneity, aldosterone level fluctuations related to an adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) effect, or inadequate sensitivity of current diagnostic means to identify apparent aldosterone excess. In addition, functioning aberrant receptors expressed in the adrenal tissue have been found in a subset of PA cases that could also be related to its pathogenesis. Recently a number of specific genetic alterations, mainly involving ion homeostasis across the membrane of zona glomerulosa, have been detected in approximately 50% of patients with APAs. Although specific genotype/phenotype correlations have not been clearly identified, differential expression of these genetic alterations could also account for the wide clinical phenotype, variations in disease prevalence and performance of diagnostic tests. In the present review, we critically analyze current means used to diagnose PA along with the role that ACTH, aberrant receptor expression and genetic alterations may exert, and provide evidence for an increased prevalence of aldosterone dysregulation in patients with essential hypertension and pre-hypertension.

Concepts: Hyperaldosteronism, Kidney, Cortisol, Renin, Aldosterone, Blood pressure, Hypertension, Renin-angiotensin system


Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) is a well-tolerated class of antihypertensive agents, exhibiting effective antihypertensive and cardiovascular protective function. The objective of the study was to examine the efficacy and safety of Allisartan Isoproxil, a newly developed, selective, nonpeptide blocker of the angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R), in essential hypertensive patients at low-medium risk.

Concepts: Beta blocker, Angiotensin II receptor type 2, Renin-angiotensin system, Angiotensin receptor, Clinical trial, Angiotensin, Blood pressure, Angiotensin II receptor antagonist


Objective To examine long term cardiorenal outcomes associated with increased concentrations of creatinine after the start of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker treatment.Design Population based cohort study using electronic health records from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink and Hospital Episode Statistics.Setting UK primary care, 1997-2014.Participants Patients starting treatment with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (n=122 363).Main outcome measures Poisson regression was used to compare rates of end stage renal disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and death among patients with creatinine increases of 30% or more after starting treatment against those without such increases, and for each 10% increase in creatinine. Analyses were adjusted for age, sex, calendar period, socioeconomic status, lifestyle factors, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, cardiovascular comorbidities, and use of other antihypertensive drugs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.Results Among the 2078 (1.7%) patients with creatinine increases of 30% or more, a higher proportion were female, were elderly, had cardiorenal comorbidity, and used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, loop diuretics, or potassium sparing diuretics. Creatinine increases of 30% or more were associated with an increased adjusted incidence rate ratio for all outcomes, compared with increases of less than 30%: 3.43 (95% confidence interval 2.40 to 4.91) for end stage renal disease, 1.46 (1.16 to 1.84) for myocardial infarction, 1.37 (1.14 to 1.65) for heart failure, and 1.84 (1.65 to 2.05) for death. The detailed categorisation of increases in creatinine concentrations (<10%, 10-19%, 20-29%, 30-39%, and ≥40%) showed a graduated relation for all outcomes (all P values for trends <0.001). Notably, creatinine increases of less than 30% were also associated with increased incidence rate ratios for all outcomes, including death (1.15 (1.09 to 1.22) for increases of 10-19% and 1.35 (1.23 to 1.49) for increases of 20-29%, using <10% as reference). Results were consistent across calendar periods, across subgroups of patients, and among continuing users.Conclusions Increases in creatinine after the start of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker treatment were associated with adverse cardiorenal outcomes in a graduated relation, even below the guideline recommended threshold of a 30% increase for stopping treatment.

Concepts: Angiotensin II receptor antagonist, Myocardial infarction, Kidney, Angiotensin, ACE inhibitor, Blood pressure, Renin-angiotensin system, Hypertension


Lithium is a widely used and highly effective treatment for mood disorders, but causes poorly characterised adverse effects in kidney and endocrine systems. We aimed to analyse laboratory information system data to determine the incidence of renal, thyroid, and parathyroid dysfunction associated with lithium use.

Concepts: Retrospective, Systems theory, Parathyroid gland, Renin-angiotensin system, Nephron, Kidney, Thyroid, Endocrine system


 To evaluate the outcomes with use of renin angiotensin system (RAS) blockers compared with other antihypertensive agents in people with diabetes.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Renin, Angiotensin, Diabetes mellitus, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Renin-angiotensin system


Early morning hypertension and a high heart rate are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The DOHSAM study was designed to evaluate the effect of candesartan on early morning blood pressure (BP) and heart rate in hypertensives. We used a prospective, randomized, open-label design. Protocol 1: Patients with early morning BP more than 135/85 mmHg who were not on any antihypertensive drug or on candesartan were given amlodipine 2.5 mg/day (amlodipine group, n = 22) or added candesartan 4 mg/day (candesartan group, n = 36). Candesartan or amlodipine was added when BP did not fall lower than 135/85 mmHg. Protocol 2: Early morning hypertensives who were on other angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) (n = 50) such as valsartan, losartan, telmisartan and olmesartan were switched to candesartan. Early morning BP significantly decreased in the candesartan group compared with the amlodipine group 9 and 12 months after treatment. Switching other ARBs except for olmesartan to candesartan significantly decreased early morning systolic and diastolic BP 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after treatment. Heart rate in the office significantly decreased by switching to candesartan 6, 9 and 12 months after treatment. In conclusion, candesartan significantly decreased early morning hypertension more than amlodipine or other ARBs except olmesartan in early morning hypertensives.

Concepts: Blood, Cardiology, Renin-angiotensin system, Angiotensin, Angiotensin II receptor antagonists, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Angiotensin II receptor antagonist