Opportunities for Targeting the Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/Angiotensin-(1-7)/Mas Receptor Pathway in Hypertension
It is well known that the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases. This is well illustrated by the great success of ACE inhibitors and angiotensin (Ang) II AT(1) blockers in the treatment of hypertension and its complications. In the past decade, the classical concept of RAS orchestrated by a series of enzymatic reactions culminating in the linear generation and action of Ang II has expanded and become more complex. From the discoveries of new components such as the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 and the receptor Mas emerged a novel concept of dual opposite branches of the RAS: one vasoconstrictor and pro-hypertensive composed of ACE/Ang II/AT1; and other vasodilator and anti-hypertensive composed of ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas. In this review we will discuss recent findings concerning the biological role of the ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas arm in the cardiovascular system and highlight the initiatives to develop potential therapeutic strategies based on this axis for treating hypertension.