The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays an important role in the homeostasis of the cardiovascular system and in the development of cardiovascular diseases. An abnormal expression or over activation of the local RAS in the heart and vasculature system is one of the most common mechanisms in pathophysiological processes in cardiovascular diseases. This also provides a basis for medical prevention and treatments using chemical approaches. Losartan is a selective nonpeptite antagonist against type 1 angiotensin II receptors (AT1R), and has been applied in medical treatments of a variety of cardiovascular diseases, including essential hypertension. This article reviews direct and indirect cardiovascular effects of losartan on the heart and blood vessels. It summarizes the chemical basis of AT1R for the action site of losartan, focuses on the mechanisms underlying the action of losartan involved in both the heart and vasculature, and reviews the information that may be helpful in the development of new chemical candidates or approaches in the war against cardiovascular diseases.
Keywords: Angiotensin II, heart, losartan, renin-angiotensin system, cardiac remodeling, hypertension
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