Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) plays a key role in the regulation of blood pressure, through the actions of angiotensin (Ang) II. Excessive RAAS activity may lead to hypertension and associated target organ damage. Indeed, RAAS blockade with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and/or angiotensin receptor AT (1) blockers (ARBs) has proved to be successful treatment for arterial hypertension, heart failure and diabetes. Accumulating evidence suggests that arterial stiffness is an important and independent predictor of cardiovascular risk. More recently, a role for advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in the development of arterial stiffening has been suggested. Advanced glycation end-products form by a nonenzymatic reaction between reducing sugars and biological proteins. Mechanisms underlying these alterations include AGE cross-linking of collagen and AGE interactions with circulating proteins and AGE receptors. New pharmacologic agents that prevent AGE formation, break cross-links, or block AGE receptors reduce vascular and myocardial stiffness, inhibit atherosclerotic plaque formation, and improve endothelial function. These agents promise to reduce the risk of isolated systolic hypertension, diastolic dysfunction, diabetes and thus, heart failure.
Keywords: Advanced glycation end products (AGEs), hypertension, diabetes, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), arterial stiffness, AGE cross-link breakers, renin inhibitors
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