The renin–angiotensin system (RAS) is undisputedly well-studied as one of the oldest and most critical regulators for arterial blood pressure, fluid volume, as well as renal function. In recent studies, RAS has also been implicated in the development of obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and other diseases, and also involved in the regulation of several signaling pathways such as proliferation, apoptosis and autophagy, and insulin resistance. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an essential cellular energy sensor, has also been discovered to be involved in these diseases and cellular pathways. This would imply a connection between the RAS and AMPK. Therefore, this review serves to draw attention to the cross-talk between RAS and AMPK, then summering the most recent literature which highlights AMPK as a point of balance between physiological and pathological functions of the RAS.
Diabetics have higher morbidity and mortality in cardiovascular disease (CVD). A variety of antidiabetic agents are available for clinical choice. Cardiovascular (CV) safety assessment of these agents is crucial in addition to hypoglycemic effect before clinical prescription. Adenosine 5′-monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an important cell energy sensor, which plays an important role in regulating myocardial energy metabolism, reducing ischemia and ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, improving heart failure (HF) and ventricular remodeling, ameliorating vascular endothelial dysfunction, antichronic inflammation, anti-apoptosis, and regulating autophagy. In this review, we summarized the effects of antidiabetic agents to CVD according to basic and clinical research evidence and put emphasis on whether these agents can play roles in CV system through AMPK-dependent signaling pathways. Metformin has displayed definite CV benefits related to AMPK. Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors also demonstrate sufficient clinical evidence for CV protection, but the mechanisms need further exploration. Glucagon-likepeptide1 analogs, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, α-glucosidase inhibitors and thiazolidinediones also show some AMPK-dependent CV benefits. Sulfonylureas and meglitinides may be unfavorable to CV system. AMPK is becoming a promising target for the treatment of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and CVD. But there are still some questions to be answered.
Heart failure (HF) is a serious disease with high mortality. The incidence of this disease has continued to increase over the past decade. All cardiovascular diseases causing dysfunction of various physiological processes can result in HF. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an energy sensor, has pleiotropic cardioprotective effects and plays a critical role in the progression of HF. In this review, we highlight that AMPK can not only improve the energy supply in the failing heart by promoting ATP production, but can also regulate several important physiological processes to restore heart function. In addition, we discuss some aspects of some potential clinical drugs which have effects on AMPK activation and may have value in treating HF. More studies, especially clinical trials, should be done to evaluate manipulation of AMPK activation as a potential means of treating HF.