All the components of the classic renin–angiotensin system (RAS) have been identified in the brain. Today, the RAS is considered to be composed mainly of two axes: the pressor axis, represented by angiotensin (Ang) II/angiotensin-converting enzyme/AT1 receptors, and the depressor and protective one, represented by Ang-(1–7)/ angiotensin-converting enzyme 2/Mas receptors. Although the RAS exerts a pivotal role on electrolyte homeostasis and blood pressure regulation, their components are also implicated in higher brain functions, including cognition, memory, anxiety and depression, and several neurological disorders. Overactivity of the pressor axis of the RAS has been implicated in stroke and several brain disorders, such as cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer or Parkinson’s disease. The present review is focused on the role of the protective axis of the RAS in brain disorders beyond its effects on blood pressure regulation. Furthermore, the use of drugs targeting centrally RAS and its beneficial effects on brain disorders are also discussed.

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