The RAS (renin–angiotensin system) is composed of two arms: the pressor arm containing AngII (angiotensin II)/ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme)/AT1Rs (AngII type 1 receptors), and the depressor arm represented by Ang-(1–7) [angiotensin-(1–7)]/ACE2/Mas receptors. All of the components of the RAS are present in the brain. Within the brain, Ang-(1–7) contributes to the regulation of BP (blood pressure) by acting at regions that control cardiovascular function such that, when Ang-(1–7) is injected into the nucleus of the solitary tract, caudal ventrolateral medulla, paraventricular nucleus or anterior hypothalamic area, a reduction in BP occurs; however, when injected into the rostral ventrolateral medulla, Ang-(1–7) stimulates an increase in BP. In contrast with AngII, Ang-(1–7) improves baroreflex sensitivity and has an inhibitory neuromodulatory role in hypothalamic noradrenergic neurotransmission. Ang-(1–7) not only exerts effects related to BP regulation, but also acts as a cerebroprotective component of the RAS by reducing cerebral infarct size and neuronal apoptosis. In the present review, we provide an overview of effects elicited by Ang-(1–7) in the brain, which suggest a potential role for Ang-(1–7) in controlling the central development of hypertension.

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