The renin–angiotensin system (RAS) is widely recognized as one of the most important vasoactive hormonal systems in the physiological regulation of blood pressure and the development of hypertension. This recognition is derived from, and supported by, extensive molecular, cellular, genetic, and pharmacological studies on the circulating (tissue-to-tissue), paracrine (cell-to-cell), and intracrine (intracellular, mitochondrial, nuclear) RAS during last several decades. Now, it is widely accepted that circulating and local RAS may act independently or interactively, to regulate sympathetic activity, systemic and renal hemodynamics, body salt and fluid balance, and blood pressure homeostasis. However, there remains continuous debate with respect to the specific sources of intratubular and intracellular RAS in the kidney and other tissues, the relative contributions of the circulating RAS to intratubular and intracellular RAS, and the roles of intratubular compared with intracellular RAS to the normal control of blood pressure or the development of angiotensin II (ANG II)-dependent hypertension. Based on a lecture given at the recent XI International Symposium on Vasoactive Peptides held in Horizonte, Brazil, this article reviews recent studies using mouse models with global, kidney- or proximal tubule-specific overexpression (knockin) or deletion (knockout) of components of the RAS or its receptors. Although much knowledge has been gained from cell- and tissue-specific transgenic or knockout models, a unifying and integrative approach is now required to better understand how the circulating and local intratubular/intracellular RAS act independently, or with other vasoactive systems, to regulate blood pressure, cardiovascular and kidney function.

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