Classical renin-angiotensin system in kidney physiology

Matthew A. Sparks, Steven D. Crowley, Susan B. Gurley, Maria Mirotsou, Thomas M. Coffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

325 Scopus citations


The renin-angiotensin system has powerful effects in control of the blood pressure and sodium homeostasis. These actions are coordinated through integrated actions in the kidney, cardiovascular system and the central nervous system. Along with its impact on blood pressure, the renin-angiotensin system also influences a range of processes from inflammation and immune responses to longevity. Here, we review the actions of the "classical" renin-angiotensin system, whereby the substrate protein angiotenszinogen is processed in a two-step reaction by renin and angiotensin converting enzyme, resulting in the sequential generation of angiotensin I and angiotensin II, the major biologically active renin-angiotensin system peptide, which exerts its actions via type 1 and type 2 angiotensin receptors. In recent years, several new enzymes, peptides, and receptors related to the renin-angiotensin system have been identified, manifesting a complexity that was previously unappreciated. While the functions of these alternative pathways will be reviewed elsewhere in this journal, our focus here is on the physiological role of components of the "classical" renin-angiotensin system, with an emphasis on new developments and modern concepts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1201-1228
Number of pages28
JournalComprehensive Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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