The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays an important role in the control of cardiovascular and renal function, through its major effector hormone, angiotensin II (ANG II). ANG II is known to modulate numerous physiological processes through the activation of distinct receptor subtypes. Although type I receptors (AT1Rs) are primarily involved in mediating the physiological effects of ANG II, counter-regulatory actions of type II receptors (AT2Rs) mediated by nitric oxide, bradykinin and cGMP, have also been observed. Yet, the physiological effects of activation of AT2R are not completely understood. In this review, the involvement of AT2Rs in cardiovascular and renal function in both physiological and pathophysiological conditions will be reviewed. A major emphasis will be placed on the involvement of ATRs during ontogeny.
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