Mitochondria are energy-producing organelles that conduct other key cellular tasks. Thus, mitochondrial damage may impair various aspects of tissue functioning. Mitochondria generate oxygen- and nitrogen-derived oxidants, being themselves major oxidation targets. Dysfunctional mitochondria seem to contribute to the pathophysiology of hypertension, cardiac failure, the metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes mellitus, renal disease, atherosclerosis, and aging. Mitochondrial proteins and metabolic intermediates participate in various cellular processes, apart from their well-known roles in energy metabolism. This emphasizes the participation of dysfunctional mitochondria in disease, notwithstanding that most evidences supporting this concept come from animal and cultured-cell studies. Mitochondrial oxidant production is altered by several factors related to vascular pathophysiology. Among these, angiotensin-II stimulates mitochondrial oxidant release leading to energy metabolism depression. By lowering mitochondrial oxidant production, angiotensin-II inhibition enhances energy production and protects mitochondrial structure. This seems to be one of the mechanisms underlying the benefits of angiotensin-II inhibition in hypertension, diabetes, and aging rodent models. If some of these findings can be reproduced in humans, they would provide a new perspective on the implications that RAS-blockade can offer as a therapeutic strategy. This review intends to present available information pointing to mitochondria as targets for therapeutic Ang-II blockade in human renal and CV disease.
This review attempts to show that there may be a relationship between inflammatory processes induced by chronic overstimulation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and the worldwide deficiency of vitamin D (VitD) and that both disorders are probably associated with environmental factors. Low VitD levels represent a risk factor for several apparently different diseases, such as infectious, autoimmune, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer. Moreover, VitD insufficiency seems to predispose to hypertension, metabolic syndrome, left ventricular hypertrophy, heart failure, and chronic vascular inflammation. On the other hand, inappropriate stimulation of the RAS has also been associated with the pathogenesis of hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and hypertrophy of the left ventricle and vascular smooth muscle cells. Because VitD receptors (VDRs) and RAS receptors are almost distributed in the same tissues, a possible link between VitD and the RAS is even more plausible. Furthermore, from an evolutionary point of view, both systems were developed simultaneously, actively participating in the regulation of inflammatory and immunological mechanisms. Changes in RAS activity and activation of the VDR seem to be inversely related; thus any changes in one of these systems would have a completely opposite effect on the other, making it possible to speculate that the two systems could have a feedback relationship. In fact, the pandemic of VitD deficiency could be the other face of increased RAS activity, which probably causes lower activity or lower levels of VitD. Finally, from a therapeutic point of view, the combination of RAS blockade and VDR stimulation appears to be more effective than either RAS blockade or VDR stimulation individually.
Obesity and related diseases are an important and growing health concern in the United States and around the world. Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are now the primary sources of added sugars in Americans' diets. The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of common pathologies, including abdominal obesity linked to an excess of visceral fat, fatty liver, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. Trends in all of these alterations are related to the consumption of dietary fructose and the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a sweetener in soft drinks and other foods. Experimental and clinical evidence suggests a progressive association between HFCS consumption, obesity, and the other injury processes. However, experimental HFCS consumption seems to produce some of the changes associated with metabolic syndrome even without increasing the body weight. Metabolic damage associated with HFCS probably is not limited to obesity-pathway mechanisms.
Malfunctioning mitochondria strongly participate in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular damage associated with hypertension and other disease conditions. Eukaryotic cells move, assume their shape, resist mechanical stress, accommodate their internal constituents, and transmit signals by relying on the constant remodeling of cytoskeleton filaments. Mitochondrial ATP is needed to support cytoskeletal dynamics. Conversely, mitochondria need to interact with cytoskeletal elements to achieve normal motility, morphology, localization, and function. Extracellular matrix (ECM) quantity and quality influence cellular growth, differentiation, morphology, survival, and mobility. Mitochondria can sense ECM composition changes, and changes in mitochondrial functioning modify the ECM. Maladaptive ECM and cytoskeletal alterations occur in a number of cardiac conditions and in most types of glomerulosclerosis, leading to cardiovascular and renal fibrosis, respectively. Angiotensin II (ANG II), a vasoactive peptide and growth factor, stimulates cytosolic and mitochondrial oxidant production, eventually leading to mitochondrial dysfunction. Also, by inducing integrin/focal adhesion changes, ANG II regulates ECM and cytoskeletal composition and organization and, accordingly, contributes to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular remodeling. ANG II-initiated integrin signaling results in the release of transforming growth factor-beta(1) (TGF-beta(1)), a cytokine that modifies ECM composition and structure, induces reorganization of the cytoskeleton, and modifies mitochondrial function. Therefore, it is possible to hypothesize that the depression of mitochondrial energy metabolism brought about by ANG II is preceded by ANG II-induced integrin signaling and the consequent derangement of the cytoskeletal filament network and/or ECM organization. ANG II-dependent TGF-beta(1) release is a potential link between ANG II, ECM, and cytoskeleton derangements and mitochondrial dysfunction. It is necessary to emphasize that the present hypothesis is among many other plausible explanations for ANG II-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction. A potential limitation of this proposal is that the results compiled here were obtained in different cells, tissues, and/or experimental models.
In this salt-sensitive genetic hypertension model, losartan protects from hypertension- and high dietary salt-related vascular oxidative stress, exceeding the benefits of BP reduction. Also, during salt overload, BP-independent factors contribute to vascular remodeling, at least part of which derive from AT1-receptor activation.
Enalapril lowers the expression of fibrotic mediators, TGF-beta1, inflammatory markers, anti-ED1, anti-collagen III monoclonals, and the periprosthetic fibrosis process. The reduction of TGF-beta1 indicates that the probable main cytokine mediator of the fibrotic cascade is attenuated. This hypothesis may provide the basis for a safe and cheap therapeutic strategy with which to modify the capsular contracture that sometimes affects women with mammary implants.
Chronic renin–angiotensin system inhibition protects against liver fibrosis, ameliorates age-associated mitochondrial dysfunction and increases rodent lifespan. We hypothesized that life-long angiotensin-II-mediated stimulation of oxidant generation might participate in mitochondrial DNA “common deletion” formation, and the resulting impairment of bioenergetic capacity. Enalapril (10 mg/kg/d) or losartan (30 mg/kg/d) administered during 16.5 months were unable to prevent the age-dependent accumulation of rat liver mitochondrial DNA “common deletion”, but attenuated the decrease of mitochondrial DNA content. This evidence – together with the enhancement of NRF-1 and PGC-1 mRNA contents – seems to explain why enalapril and losartan improved mitochondrial functioning and lowered oxidant production, since both the absolute number of mtDNA molecules and increased NRF-1 and PGC-1 transcription are positively related to mitochondrial respiratory capacity, and PGC-1 protects against increases in ROS production and damage. Oxidative stress evoked by abnormal respiratory function contributes to the pathophysiology of mitochondrial disease and human aging. If the present mitochondrial actions of renin–angiotensin system inhibitors are confirmed in humans they may modify the therapeutic significance of that strategy.
RAS plays a central role in natural process of renal aging, probably by producing effects influencing the biology of aging, the effects of which can be attenuated by RASi.
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