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Cardiovascular risk reduction by reversing endothelial dysfunction: ARBs, ACE inhibitors,  or both? Expectations from The ONTARGET  Trial Programme

Authors Luis Miguel  Ruilope, Josep Redón, Roland Schmieder

Published 15 March 2007 Volume 2007:3(1) Pages 1—9

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Luis Miguel  Ruilope1, Josep Redón2, Roland Schmieder3

1Servicio de Nefrologia, Unidad de Hipertension Hospital, 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain; 2Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Clinico University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain; 3Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, Friedrich-Alexander-Universitat, Erlangen-Nurnberg, Germany

Abstract: Endothelial dysfunction is the initial pathophysiological step in a progression of vascular damage that leads to overt cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease. Angiotensin II, the primary agent of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS), has a central role in endothelial dysfunction. Therefore, RAS blockade with an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) and/or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor provides a rational approach to reverse endothelial dysfunction, reduce microalbuminuria, and, thus, improves cardiovascular and renal prognosis. ARBs and ACE inhibitors act at different points in the RAS pathway and recent evidence suggests that there are differences regarding their effects on endothelial dysfunction. In addition to blood pressure lowering, studies have shown that ARBs reduce target-organ damage, including improvements in endothelial dysfunction, arterial stiffness, the progression of renal dysfunction in patients with type 2 diabetes, proteinuria, and left ventricular hypertrophy. The ONgoing Telmisartan Alone in combination with Ramipril Global Endpoint Trial (ONTARGET) Programme is expected to provide the ultimate evidence of whether improved endothelial func tion translates into reduced cardiovascular and renal events in high-risk patients, and to assess possible differential outcomes with telmisartan, the ACE inhibitor ramipril, or a combination of both (dual RAS blockade). Completion of ONTARGET is expected in 2008.

Keywords: angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, angiotensin receptor blocker, endothelial dysfunction, ONTARGET, renin–angiotensin system, telmisartan

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