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International Journal of Hypertension
Volume 2012, Article ID 414128, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/414128
Review Article

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2, Angiotensin-(1-7), and Receptor Mas Axis in the Kidney

Pediatric Nephrology Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), 30130-100 Belo Horizonte MG, Brazil

Received 1 September 2011; Accepted 2 November 2011

Academic Editor: Robson Santos

Copyright © 2012 Sergio Veloso Brant Pinheiro and Ana Cristina Simões e Silva. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In the past few years the understanding of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) has improved, helping to better define the role of this system in physiological conditions and in human diseases. Besides Angiotensin (Ang) II, the biological importance of other Ang fragments was progressively evidenced. In this regard, Angiotensin- (Ang-) (1-7) was recognized as a biologically active product of the RAS cascade with a specific receptor, the G-protein-coupled receptor Mas, and that is mainly formed by the action of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) homolog enzyme, ACE2, which converts Ang II into Ang-(1-7). Taking into account the biological effects of these two mediators, Ang II and Ang-(1-7), the RAS can be envisioned as a dual function system in which the vasoconstrictor/proliferative or vasodilator/antiproliferative actions are primarily driven by the balance between Ang II and Ang-(1-7), respectively. In this paper, we will discuss our current understanding of the ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis of the RAS in renal physiology and in the pathogenesis of primary hypertension and chronic kidney disease.