Physiological actions of angiotensin II mediated by AT1 and AT2 receptors in the brain

M. J. McKinley, R. M. McAllen, G. L. Pennington, A. Smardencas, R. S. Weisinger, B. J. Oldfield

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1. Autoradiographic binding studies have shown that the AT1 receptor is the predominant angiotensin II (AngII) receptor subtype in the central nervous system (CNS). Major sites of AT1 receptors are the lamina terminalis, hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, the lateral parabrachial nucleus, rostral and caudal ventrolateral medulla, nucleus of the solitary tract and the intermediolateral cell column of the thoraco-lumbar spinal cord. 2. While there are differences between species, AT2 receptors are found mainly in the cerebellum, inferior olive and locus coeruleus of the rat. 3. Circulating AngII acts on AT1 receptors in the subfornical organ and organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis (OVLT) to stimulate neurons that may have a role in initiating water drinking. 4. Centrally administered AngII may act on AT1 receptors in the median preoptic nucleus and elsewhere to induce drinking, sodium appetite, a sympathetic vasoconstrictor response and vasopressin secretion. 5. Recent evidence shows that centrally administered AT1 antagonists inhibit dipsogenic, natriuretic, pressor and vasopressin secretory responses to intracerebroventricular infusion of hypertonic saline. This suggests that an angiotensinergic neural pathway has a role in osmoregulatory responses. 6. Central angiotensinergic pathways which include neural inputs to the rostral ventrolateral medulla may use AT1 receptors and play a role in the function of sympathetic pathways maintaining arterial pressure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiotensin
  • AT receptor
  • Autonomic control
  • Medulla
  • Osmoregulatory responses
  • Subfornical organ
  • Water drinking

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