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The activation of the brain renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of cognition. While the brain RAS has been studied before in the context of hypertension, little is known about its role and regulation in relation to neuronal function and its modulation. Adequate blood flow to the brain as well as proper clearing of metabolic byproducts become crucial in the presence of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). RAS inhibition (RASi) drugs that can cross into the central nervous system have yielded unclear results in improving cognition in AD patients. Consequently, only one RASi therapy is under consideration in clinical trials to modify AD. Moreover, the role of non-genetic factors such as hypercholesterolemia in the pathophysiology of AD remains largely uncharacterized, even when evidence exists that it can lead to alteration of the RAS and cognition in animal models. Here we revise the evidence for the function of the brain RAS in cognition and AD pathogenesis and summarize the evidence that links it to hypercholesterolemia and other risk factors. We review existent medications for RASi therapy and show research on novel drugs, including small molecules and nanodelivery strategies that can target the brain RAS with potential high specificity. We hope that further research into the brain RAS function and modulation will lead to innovative therapies that can finally improve AD neurodegeneration.


Raúl Loera-Valencia, Francesca Eroli, Sara Garcia-Ptacek, Silvia Maioli. Brain Renin-Angiotensin System as Novel and Potential Therapeutic Target for Alzheimer's Disease. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 Sep 20;22(18)

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PMID: 34576302

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