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Activation of the Protective Arm of the Renin Angiotensin System in Demyelinating Disease

Stone, RE;Liu, S;Levy, AM;Kashani, N;Louie, SG;Rodgers, KE;Kelland, EE;Lund, BT;

The renin angiotensin system (RAS), which is classically known for blood pressure regulation, has functions beyond this. There are two axes of RAS that work to counterbalance each other and are active throughout the body, including the CNS. The pathological axis, consisting of angiotensin II (A1-8), angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and the angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R), is upregulated in many CNS diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is an autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease of the CNS characterized by inflammation, demyelination and axonal degeneration. Published research has described increased expression of AT1R and ACE in tissues from MS patients and in animal models of MS such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). In contrast to the pathological axis, little is known about the protective axes of RAS in MS and EAE. In other neurological conditions the protective axis, which includes A1-7, ACE2, angiotensin II type 2 receptor and Mas receptor, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, regenerative and neuroprotective effects. Here we show, for the first time, changes in the protective arm of RAS in both EAE and MS CNS tissue. We observed a significant increase in expression of the protective arm during stages of disease stabilization in EAE, and in MS tissue showing evidence of remyelination. These data provide evidence that the protective arm of RAS, through both ligand and receptor expression, is associated with reductions in the pathological processes that occur in the earlier stages of MS and EAE, possibly slowing the neurodegenerative process and enhancing neural repair. Graphical Abstract.