The role of angiotensin II in cognition and behaviour

Paul Gard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polymorphisms of the renin–angiotensin system are associated with cardiovascular disorders, possibly as a consequence of increased brain angiotensin II activity. Within the brain, angiotensin controls blood pressure, fluid balance and hormone secretion; it also influences behaviour: reduction of central angiotensin function has both antidepressant-like and axiolytic-like actions. Evidence concerning the role of the renin–angiotensin system in learning and memory is contradictory, although more studies support the proposal that angiotensin reduces cognitive function. Studies of renin–angiotensin system genotype and psychological status have suggested an association between the angiotensin-converting enzyme deletion allele and age related cognitive decline, but a greater prevalence of the insertion allele in Alzheimer's disease. The deletion allele has also been associated with depressive illness, as has the M allele of the angiotensinogen gene although other studies have failed to replicate these findings. The role of the brain renin–angiotensin system in human psychopathology remains to be fully explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002


  • Renin–angiotensin system
  • Affective disorder
  • Cognition
  • Memory


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