Sex differences in the metabolic effects of the renin-angiotensin system

Melissa C. White, Rebecca Fleeman, Amy C. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Obesity is a global epidemic that greatly increases risk for developing cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. Sex differences in the obese phenotype are well established in experimental animal models and clinical populations. While having higher adiposity and obesity prevalence, females are generally protected from obesity-related metabolic and cardiovascular complications. This protection is, at least in part, attributed to sex differences in metabolic effects of hormonal mediators such as the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Previous literature has predominantly focused on the vasoconstrictor arm of the RAS and shown that, in contrast to male rodent models of obesity and diabetes, females are protected from metabolic and cardiovascular derangements produced by angiotensinogen, renin, and angiotensin II. A vasodilator arm of the RAS has more recently emerged which includes angiotensin-(1-7), angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), mas receptors, and alamandine. While accumulating evidence suggests that activation of components of this counter-regulatory axis produces positive effects on glucose homeostasis, lipid metabolism, and energy balance in male animal models, female comparison studies and clinical data related to metabolic outcomes are lacking. This review will summarize current knowledge of sex differences in metabolic effects of the RAS, focusing on interactions with gonadal hormones and potential clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number31
JournalBiology of Sex Differences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Endocrinology


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