Angiotensin II and angiotensin 1-7: which is their role in atrial fibrillation?

Annamaria Mascolo, Konrad Urbanek, Antonella De Angelis, Maurizio Sessa, Cristina Scavone, Liberato Berrino, Giuseppe Massimo Claudio Rosano, Annalisa Capuano, Francesco Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality as well as a public health burden considering the high costs of AF-related hospitalizations. Pre-clinical and clinical evidence showed a potential role of the renin angiotensin system (RAS) in the etiopathogenesis of AF. Among RAS mediators, angiotensin II (AII) and angiotensin 1-7 (A1-7) have been mostly investigated in AF. Specifically, the stimulation of the pathway mediated by AII or the inhibition of the pathway mediated by A1-7 may participate in inducing and sustaining AF. In this review, we summarize the evidence showing that both RAS pathways may balance the onset of AF through different biological mechanisms involving inflammation, epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) accumulation, and electrical cardiac remodeling. EAT is a predictor for AF as it may induce its onset through direct (infiltration of epicardial adipocytes into the underlying atrial myocardium) and indirect (release of inflammatory adipokines, the stimulation of oxidative stress, macrophage phenotype switching, and AF triggers) mechanisms. Classic RAS blockers such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) may prevent AF by affecting the accumulation of the EAT, representing a useful therapeutic strategy for preventing AF especially in patients with heart failure and known left ventricular dysfunction. Further studies are necessary to prove this benefit in patients with other cardiovascular diseases. Finally, the possibility of using the A1-7 or ACE2 analogues, to enlarge current therapeutic options for AF, may represent an important field of research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHeart Failure Reviews
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 2 2019


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