The RAS (renin–angiotensin system) is integral to cardiovascular physiology; however, dysregulation of this system largely contributes to the pathophysiology of CVD (cardiovascular disease). It is well established that AngII (angiotensin II), the main effector of the RAS, engages the AT1R (angiotensin type 1 receptor) and promotes cell growth, proliferation, migration and oxidative stress, all processes which contribute to remodelling of the heart and vasculature, ultimately leading to the development and progression of various CVDs, including heart failure and atherosclerosis. The counter-regulatory axis of the RAS, which is centred on the actions of ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) and the resultant production of Ang-(1–7) [angiotensin-(1–7)] from AngII, antagonizes the actions of AngII via the receptor Mas, thereby providing a protective role in CVD. More recently, another ACE2 metabolite, Ang-(1–9) [angiotensin-(1–9)], has been reported to be a biologically active peptide within the counter-regulatory axis of the RAS. The present review will discuss the role of the counter-regulatory RAS peptides Ang-(1–7) and Ang-(1–9) in the cardiovascular system, with a focus on their effects in remodelling of the heart and vasculature.

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