Definition: Enzyme involved in the regulation of blood vessel tone and natriuresis in the cardiovascular system. Two key vasopeptidases are the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which is essential in the generation of angiotensin II and the enzyme neutral endopeptidase, which is involved in the breakdown of natriuretic peptides. By blocking ACE and neutral endopeptidase, vasopeptidase inhibitors have an antihypertensive effect and have been under investigation in the treatment of heart failure. Safety concerns (e.g., development of angioedema, diminished renal functions) in clinical trials have prevented this new drug class to enter the pharmaceutical market in the U.S.
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