Role of Renin-Angiotensin System in Inflammation, Immunity and Aging

Recent data support the idea that the effects of RAS are not restricted to the cardiovascular and renal systems. Importantly, RAS modulates free radical production and the cellular synthesis of several molecules such as cytokines, chemokines and transcription factors. These functions reflect directly the RAS ability to modulate the cell growth, senescence and migration. Activation of the classic RAS, ACE/Ang II/AT(1)R, has been strictly related to down regulation of pro-survival genes (Nampt and Sirt3), increase in ROS production and pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines release, leading to cell senescence, inflammation and development of autoimmune dysfunctions. However, the new view of RAS, points to the ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas receptor axis as a counter-regulator of the effects of the classic Ang II-mediated effects. This new pathway is not totally elucidated. However, some studies suggest an important role of this novel axis in the control of cytokines release as well as cell migration and synthesis, preventing extra-cellular matrix deposition and cell apoptosis. Classic RAS blockers have been proposed as anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory agents and some studies suggest a new potential application of RAS blockers in autoimmune diseases. The aim of the present review is to update the novel roles of classical and new RAS components and their possible implication during the physiological aging, in the immune system and inflammation.


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