Role of angiotensin II AT1 receptor blockers in the treatment of arterial hypertension

Freddy Contreras, María Antonia de la Parte, Julio Cabrera, Nestor Ospino, Zafar H Israili, Manuel Velasco
American Journal of Therapeutics 2003, 10 (6): 401-8
Hypertension is a very common condition and the most important risk factor for the occurrence of cardiovascular events. The hyperactivity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system is considered a cardiovascular risk factor in subjects with essential hypertension. The intrinsic vascular abnormality in which the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system is clearly the milieu for the development of the pathologic changes in blood vessel walls is one of the causes of the establishment of hypertension. Many drugs with different mechanisms of action have been used for the treatment of hypertension and its vascular complications. Nevertheless, the utilities of many drugs are limited by their adverse effects. Continuous research in the search for new pharmacological agents for the treatment of hypertension has led to the development of angiotensin II receptor type AT1 blockers. The most important functions mediated by AT1 receptors include: vasoconstriction, induction of the production and release of aldosterone, renal reabsorption of sodium, cardiac cellular growth, proliferation of vascular smooth muscle, increase of peripheral noradrenergic action and the central activity of the sympathetic nervous system, stimulation of vasopressin release, and inhibition of renin release from the kidney. The angiotensin II receptor type AT1 blockers inhibit the interaction of angiotensin II with its AT1 receptor. These agents lower blood pressure without producing cough as a side effect since, unlike the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors they do not influence the levels of bradykinin or substance P. Hence, these drugs are suitable for the treatment of hypertensive patients who require therapy with a drug blocking the effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme but cannot use angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors due to cough as a side effect.

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