The intracellular signal transduction of AngII (angiotensin II) has been implicated in cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and restenosis after injury. AT1 receptor (AngII type-1 receptor), a G-protein-coupled receptor, mediates most of the physiological and pathophysiological actions of AngII, and this receptor is predominantly expressed in cardiovascular cells, such as VSMCs (vascular smooth muscle cells). AngII activates various signalling molecules, including G-protein-derived second messengers, protein kinases and small G-proteins (Ras, Rho, Rac etc), through the AT1 receptor leading to vascular remodelling. Growth factor receptors, such as EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor), have been demonstrated to be ‘trans’-activated by the AT1 receptor in VSMCs to mediate growth and migration. Rho and its effector Rho-kinase/ROCK are also implicated in the pathological cellular actions of AngII in VSMCs. Less is known about the endothelial AngII signalling; however, recent studies suggest the endothelial AngII signalling positively, as well as negatively, regulates the NO (nitric oxide) signalling pathway and, thereby, modulates endothelial dysfunction. Moreover, selective AT1-receptor-interacting proteins have recently been identified that potentially regulate AngII signal transduction and their pathogenic functions in the target organs. In this review, we focus our discussion on the recent findings and concepts that suggest the existence of the above-mentioned novel signalling mechanisms whereby AngII mediates the formation of cardiovascular diseases.

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