Regulation and Functions of the Renin-Angiotensin System in White and Brown Adipose Tissue

Mandana Pahlavani, Nishan S Kalupahana, Latha Ramalingam, Naima Moustaid-Moussa

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83 Scopus citations


The renin angiotensin system (RAS) is a major regulator of blood pressure, fluid, and electrolyte homeostasis. RAS precursor angiotensinogen (Agt) is cleaved into angiotensin I (Ang I) and II (Ang II) by renin and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), respectively. Major effects of Ang II, the main bioactive peptide of this system, is mediated by G protein coupled receptors, Angiotensin Type 1 (AGTR1, AT1R) and Type 2 (AGTR2, AT2R) receptors. Further, the discovery of additional RAS peptides such as Ang 1-7 generated by the action of another enzyme ACE2 identified novel functions of this complex system. In addition to the systemic RAS, several local RAS exist in organs such as the brain, kidney, pancreas, and adipose tissue. The expression and regulation of various components of RAS in adipose tissue prompted extensive research into the role of adipose RAS in metabolic diseases. Indeed, animal studies have shown that adipose-derived Agt contributes to circulating RAS, kidney, and blood pressure regulation. Further, mice overexpressing Agt have high blood pressure and increased adiposity characterized by inflammation, adipocyte hypertrophy, and insulin resistance, which can be reversed at least in part by RAS inhibition. These findings highlight the importance of this system in energy homeostasis, especially in the context of obesity. This overview article discusses the depot-specific functions of adipose RAS, genetic and pharmacological manipulations of RAS, and its applications to adipogenesis, thermogenesis, and overall energy homeostasis. © 2017 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 7:1137-1150, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1137-1150
Number of pages14
JournalComprehensive Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 12 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose Tissue, Brown/metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, White/metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology


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