- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activation and the de novo production of angiotensin II contribute to cardiovascular disease through direct pathological tissue effects, including vascular remodeling and inflammation, as well as indirect action on nitric oxide bioavailability and its consequences. The endothelium plays a pivotal role in both vascular function and structure; thus, the predominant localization of ACE to the endothelium has implications for the pathobiology of vascular disease, such as coronary artery disease. Numerous experimental studies and clinical trials support the emerging realization that tissue ACE is a vital therapeutic target, and that its inhibition may restore endothelial function or prevent endothelial dysfunction. These effects exceed those attributable to blood pressure reduction alone; hence, ACE inhibitors may exert an important part of their effects through direct tissue action. Pharmacologic studies show that while ACE inhibitors may differ according to their binding affinity for tissue ACE the clinical significance remains to be determined.