Multiple types of renin-angiotensin system (RAS) blockers exist, allowing interference with the system at the level of renin, angiotensin-converting enzyme, or the angiotensin II receptor. Yet, in particular, for the treatment of hypertension, the number of patients with uncontrolled hypertension continues to rise, either due to patient noncompliance or because of the significant renin rises that may, at least partially, overcome the effect of RAS blockade (RAS escape). New approaches to target the RAS are either direct antisense oligonucleotides that inhibit angiotensinogen RNA translation, or small interfering RNA (siRNA) that function via the RNA interference pathway. Since all angiotensins stem from angiotensinogen, lowering angiotensinogen has the potential to circumvent the RAS escape phenomenon. Moreover, antisense oligonucleotides and small interfering RNA require injections only every few weeks to months, which might reduce noncompliance. Of course, angiotensinogen suppression also poses a threat in situations where the RAS is acutely needed, for instance in women becoming pregnant during treatment, or in cases of emergency, when severe hypotension occurs. This review discusses all preclinical data on angiotensinogen suppression, as well as the limited clinical data that are currently available. It concludes that it is an exciting new tool to target the RAS with high specificity and a low side effect profile. Its long-term action might revolutionize pharmacotherapy, as it could overcome compliance problems. Preclinical and clinical programs are now carefully investigating its efficacy and safety profile, allowing an optimal introduction as a novel drug to treat cardiovascular and renal diseases in due time.
Bibliographical noteSources of Funding: The authors’ AGT (angiotensinogen)-related research work is supported by Na-tional Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health un-der award numbers R01HL139748 (H.S. Lu) and R00HL145117 (C. Wu). The content in this commentary is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. E.O. Cruz-López was supported by the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (grant no. 739513)
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