The Renin-Angiotensin-System (RAS) is critically involved in the regulation of blood pressure and fluid balance and is responsible for the control of a variety of complex physiological functions.
The peptide hormone system is constituted by multiple enzymes, giving rise to a meshwork of effector peptides. These peptides mediate their functions through binding to specific receptors which leads to an integrated physiologic response.
The RAS can be formally divided into two branches: On the one hand there is the classical RAS, whose main effector peptide is the cardiovascular “bad guy” Angiotensin II (Ang 1-8); on the other hand there is the alternative RAS with its main effector Ang 1-7, which is known to bind the receptor MAS, transducing signals that counteract effects mediated by Ang II and thereby being beneficial in RAS-associated diseases. The balance between the two branches depends on many enzymes and serves as a common therapeutic target in cardiovascular diseases. Little is known about the functions of other metabolites of the RAS, although there is growing evidence for the importance of other angiotensin metabolites, enzymes and receptors of the RAS.
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