The renin angiotensin system as a therapeutic target to prevent diabetes and its complications

Kris Vijayaraghavan, Prakash C Deedwania
Cardiology Clinics 2005, 23 (2): 165-83
The role of the RAAS in development and maintenance of blood pressure is well established. In addition, the deleterious effects of angiotensin II on the heart, vasculature, and kidneys have been clearly defined. There seems to be a close relationship between endothelial dysfunction, insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes and coronary artery disease) and angiotensin II. The signaling pathways for insulin in the vascular wall interacts with the angiotensin signaling, giving rise to potential mechanisms for development of diabetes and resulting harmful effects. A large number of clinical trials using ACE inhibitors or ARBs have shown significant reduction in secondary endpoints in the development of new onset of diabetes. Ongoing prospective studies involving ARBs (eg, the Nateglinide and Valsartan Impaired Glucose Tolerance Outcomes Research trial) and ACE inhibitors (eg, the Diabetes Re-duction Assessment with Ramipril and Rosiglita-zone Medication trial) are testing the ability of certain agents to prevent type 2 diabetes. In the meantime, it is important to recognize insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome as entities that increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. In addition to lifestyle modifications, managing endothelial dysfunction and protecting the vasculature will help prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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