The natriuretic peptide and renin-angiotensin systems are physiological counterparts with opposite roles in the regulation of electrolyte balance and blood pressure. In both systems, membrane-bound, zinc-dependent peptidases play an important role in the inactivation or activation of the system. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) converts angiotensin I into angiotensin II, and neutral endopeptidase (NEP) degrades the natriuretic peptides. Simultaneous inhibition NEP and ACE by a single molecule (a vasopeptidase inhibitor) is a new therapeutic approach in hypertension. Wider applications for vasopeptidase inhibitors being studied include their role as cardioprotective agents in heart failure, as renoprotective agents in chronic renal failure and diabetic nephropathy, and as vasculoprotective agents in endothelial dysfunction and athersclerosis.
- © 2002 The Biochemical Society