, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 339-353
Date: 29 Mar 2008

Role of central and peripheral aminopeptidase activities in the control of blood pressure: a working hypothesis

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Although there is a large body of knowledge on protein synthesis, the available data on protein catabolism, although quite substantial, are still inadequate. This is due to the marked differences in the activity of proteolytic enzymes, compounded by different substrate specificities and multiple environmental factors. Understanding enzyme behavior under physiological and pathological conditions requires the identification of specific proteolytic activities, such as aminopeptidases, as able to degrade certain peptidergic hormones or neuropeptides. Another requirement is the isolation, purification and characterization of the enzymes involved. In addition, systematic studies are needed to determine each enzyme’s subcellular location, tissue distribution, and the influence of environmental factors such as diurnal rhythm, age, gender, diet, cholesterol, or steroids. Central and peripheral aminopeptidases may play a role in the control of blood pressure by coordinating the effect of the different peptides of the renin–angiotensin system cascade, acting through the AT1, AT2, and AT4 receptors. Our review of the available data suggests the hypothesis that cholesterol or steroids, particularly testosterone, significantly influence aminopeptidase activities, their substrate availability and consequently their functions. These observations may have relevant clinical implications for a better understanding of the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases, and thus for their treatment with aminopeptidase inhibitors.