Angiotensin II as candidate of cardiac cachexia

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Purpose of review

Congestive heart failure is increasing in prevalence and represents a major public health problem. The syndrome of advanced heart failure often includes muscle wasting, commonly termed cardiac cachexia, which is a predictor of poor outcome. Mechanisms of cardiac cachexia are poorly understood, but there is recent evidence that increased angiotensin II, interacting with the insulin-like growth factor-1 system, plays an important role.

Recent findings

In animals, angiotensin II produces weight loss through a pressor-independent mechanism, accompanied by decreased levels of circulating and skeletal muscle insulin-like growth factor-1 and increased mRNA levels of the ubiquitin ligases atrogin-1 and Muscle RING finger-1 in skeletal muscle. Reduced insulin-like growth factor-1 action in muscle leads to increased proteolysis, through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, and increased apoptosis. These changes are blocked by muscle-specific expression of insulin-like growth factor-1, likely to be via the Akt/mTOR/p70S6K signaling pathway.


The link between insulin-like growth factor-1, the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, and angiotensin II effects has widespread clinical implications for the understanding of mechanisms of catabolic conditions. Therapeutic interventions targeting cross-talk mechanisms between angiotensin II and insulin-like growth factor-1 effects could provide new approaches for the treatment of muscle wasting.

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