, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 167-173,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 31 Mar 2010

Genetic Variants of the Renin Angiotensin System: Effects on Atherosclerosis in Experimental Models and Humans


The renin angiotensin system (RAS) has profound effects on atherosclerosis development in animal models, which is partially complimented by evidence in the human disease. Although angiotensin II was considered to be the principal effector of the RAS, a broader array of bioactive angiotensin peptides have been identified that have increased the scope of enzymes and receptors in the RAS. Genetic interruption of the synthesis of these peptides has not been extensively performed in experimental or human studies. A few studies demonstrate that interruption of a component of the angiotensin peptide synthesis pathway reduces experimental lesion formation. The evidence in human studies has not been consistent. Conversely, genetic manipulation of the RAS receptors has demonstrated that AT1a receptors are profoundly involved in experimental atherosclerosis. Few studies have reported links of genetic variants of angiotensin II receptors to human atherosclerotic diseases. Further genetic studies are needed to define the role of RAS in atherosclerosis.