Integrative Physiological Aspects of Brain RAS in Hypertension

Sharon D.B. de Morais, Julia Shanks, Irving H. Zucker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays an important role in modulating cardiovascular function and fluid homeostasis. While the systemic actions of the RAS are widely accepted, the role of the RAS in the brain, its regulation of cardiovascular function, and sympathetic outflow remain controversial. In this report, we discuss the current understanding of central RAS on blood pressure (BP) regulation, in light of recent literature and new experimental techniques. Recent Findings: Studies using neuronal or glial-specifc mouse models have allowed for greater understanding into the site-specific expression and role centrally expressed RAS proteins have on BP regulation. While all components of the RAS have been identified in cardiovascular regulatory regions of the brain, their actions may be site specific. In a number of animal models of hypertension, reduction in Ang II-mediated signaling, or upregulation of the central ACE2/Ang 1–7 pathway, has been shown to reduce BP, via a reduction in sympathetic signaling and increase parasympathetic tone, respectively. Emerging evidence also suggests that, in part, the female protective phenotype against hypertension may be due to inceased ACE2 activity within cardiovascular regulatory regions of the brain, potentially mediated by estrogen. Summary: Increasing evidence suggests the importance of a central renin-angiotensin pathway, although its localization and the mechanisms involved in its expression and regulation still need to be clarified and more precisely defined. All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards (including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalCurrent Hypertension Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Angiotensin
  • Blood pressure
  • Brain
  • Hypertension
  • Renin
  • Sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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