Angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonists [ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers)] are indicated for BP (blood pressure)-lowering, renal protection and cardioprotection in patients unable to tolerate ACEIs (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors). A recent meta-analysis revealed an association between ARBs and tumour development, possibly due to enhancement of angiogenesis. However, published evidence is conflicting on the effects of ARBs on angiogenesis or the expansion of the existing vascular network. ARBs have been shown to exert primarily anti-angiogenic effects in basic science studies of cancer, retinopathy, peripheral artery disease and some models of cardiovascular disease. In animal and cellular models of myocardial infarction and stroke, however, ARB administration has been associated with robust increases in vascular density and improved recovery. The aim of the present review is to examine the angiogenic effects of ARBs in animal and cellular models of relevant disease states, including proposed molecular mechanisms of action of ARBs and the clinical consequences of ARB use.

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