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A cornerstone in the history of hypertension: the seventieth anniversary of the discovery of angiotensin

Milei, José

Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine: April 2010 - Volume 11 - Issue 4 - p 260–264
doi: 10.2459/JCM.0b013e3283356607
Original articles

In 1939, two independent teams, in Buenos Aires and Indianapolis, identified the polypeptide angiotensin. In 1934, Goldblatt et al. demonstrated that partial occlusion of the renal arteries produces hypertension in dogs, and Houssay in 1936 predicted the presence of a humoral mechanism and, with Fasciolo, demonstrated that the ischemic kidneys released a pressor substance that increased the recipient's blood pressure. Later on, Taquini proved that the rise in blood pressure that follows the re-establishment of circulation in kidneys was also produced by a plasmatic substance from the venous blood of acute ischemic kidneys and it was called ‘hypertensin’. Then, they proved that it was the result of an enzymatic reaction in which renin was the enzyme and plasma the substrate. At the same time, in 1939, Page et al. postulated that renin activated by plasma becomes vasoactive and the substance was called ‘angiotonin’. Page's group began in 1937, with the purification of renin, studying its renal hemodynamic effects. Later on, Page et al. acknowledged in 1943 the enzymatic nature of the system and renamed their so-called renin-activator as renin substrate. Both groups fused the two original names into ‘angiotensin’ during a meeting at Michigan in 1958, making the ‘adventure of the discovery of angiotensin’ a reality.

Instituto de Investigaciones Cardiológicas ‘Prof. Dr Alberto C. Taquini’ (ININCA), Universidad de Buenos Aires, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Received 4 November, 2009

Accepted 16 November, 2009

Correspondence to Professor Dr José Milei, Director del ININCA, Marcelo T de Alvear 2270 (C1122AAJ), Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Tel: +54 11 45083888; e-mail:

© 2010 Italian Federation of Cardiology. All rights reserved.