Angiotensinogen and Angiotensin in Hypertension: Unraveling the Hormonal Dysregulation

January 25, 2024by Dr. S. F. Czar0


Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a prevalent cardiovascular condition affecting millions worldwide. The intricate interplay of various physiological factors contributes to its development. Among these, the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) stands out as a key regulator of blood pressure. Central to this system are angiotensinogen and angiotensin, two critical players in the hormonal cascade that modulates blood pressure and fluid balance.

Angiotensinogen: The Precursor Molecule

Angiotensinogen, an α-2-globulin produced primarily by the liver, serves as the precursor molecule for the RAAS. It is released into the bloodstream and awaits activation to initiate the cascade that ultimately leads to vasoconstriction and increased blood pressure.

The process begins when renin, an enzyme secreted by the kidneys, cleaves angiotensinogen to generate angiotensin I. This initial step marks the activation of the RAAS and sets the stage for further hormonal actions.

Angiotensin I to Angiotensin II: A Transformative Journey

Angiotensin I, though active, possesses limited physiological effects. The real protagonist in the hypertension narrative is Angiotensin II, a potent vasoconstrictor and key player in regulating blood pressure.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), predominantly found in the lungs, converts Angiotensin I into Angiotensin II. The conversion is a pivotal step in the RAAS, unleashing the full range of physiological responses associated with this hormone.

The Actions of Angiotensin II:

  1. Vasoconstriction: Angiotensin II acts directly on blood vessels, causing them to narrow. This vasoconstrictive effect increases peripheral resistance, elevating blood pressure.
  2. Aldosterone Release: Angiotensin II stimulates the adrenal glands to release aldosterone. This hormone promotes sodium and water retention in the kidneys, leading to an expansion of blood volume and further contributing to hypertension.
  3. Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH) Release: The hormone ADH, also known as vasopressin, is released in response to Angiotensin II. ADH promotes water reabsorption by the kidneys, aiding in maintaining blood volume and pressure.
  4. Sympathetic Nervous System Activation: Angiotensin II activates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increased heart rate and contractility. This sympathetic stimulation adds another layer to the hypertensive response.

Hormonal Dysregulation in Hypertension:

In hypertensive individuals, the RAAS often exhibits dysregulation, leading to sustained elevation of Angiotensin II levels. This chronic activation contributes to the development and progression of hypertension, making the RAAS a therapeutic target for managing blood pressure.

Genetic factors, environmental influences, and comorbidities such as obesity and diabetes can all contribute to the dysregulation of the RAAS. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of this hormonal dysregulation is crucial for developing targeted interventions.

Therapeutic Approaches:

Several medications target the RAAS to manage hypertension. ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) disrupt the formation or action of Angiotensin II, effectively lowering blood pressure. These drugs play a vital role in hypertension management and highlight the importance of the angiotensinogen-angiotensin pathway in the development of effective treatments.

Emerging Research:

Ongoing research continues to unveil novel aspects of the angiotensinogen-angiotensin system. Some studies explore the role of genetic variations in angiotensinogen and their association with hypertension susceptibility. Others investigate the potential benefits of targeting specific components of the RAAS for more personalized and effective treatment strategies.


The angiotensinogen-angiotensin pathway is a central player in the complex web of physiological processes regulating blood pressure. Understanding the intricate details of this hormonal cascade provides insights into the development and progression of hypertension. Therapeutic interventions targeting angiotensinogen and angiotensin have proven effective in managing hypertension, highlighting the clinical relevance of unraveling the hormonal dysregulation within the RAAS. As research advances, further discoveries in this field promise to refine our approach to hypertension treatment and pave the way for more personalized and targeted therapies.

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