The locally active ligand peptides, mediators, receptors and signalling pathways of the haematopoietic BM (bone marrow) autocrine/paracrine RAS (renin–angiotensin system) affect the essential steps of definitive blood cell production. Haematopoiesis, erythropoiesis, myelopoiesis, formation of monocytic and lymphocytic lineages, thrombopoiesis and other stromal cellular elements are regulated by the local BM RAS. The local BM RAS is present and active even in primitive embryonic haematopoiesis. ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) is expressed on the surface of the first endothelial and haematopoietic cells, forming the marrow cavity in the embryo. ACE marks early haematopoietic precursor cells and long-term blood-forming CD34+ BM cells. The local autocrine tissue BM RAS may also be active in neoplastic haematopoiesis. Critical RAS mediators such as renin, ACE, AngII (angiotensin II) and angiotensinogen have been identified in leukaemic blast cells. The local tissue RAS influences tumour growth and metastases in an autocrine and paracrine fashion via the modulation of numerous carcinogenic events, such as angiogenesis, apoptosis, cellular proliferation, immune responses, cell signalling and extracellular matrix formation. The aim of the present review is to outline the known functions of the local BM RAS within the context of primitive, definitive and neoplastic haematopoiesis. Targeting the actions of local RAS molecules could represent a valuable therapeutic option for the management of neoplastic disorders.

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