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The circulating renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays an important role in the maintenance of blood pressure and fluid homeostasis. Recently, there has been a shift of emphasis from the circulating RAS to the local RAS in the regulation of individual tissue functions via a paracrine and/or autocrine mechanism. In fact, a local RAS has been proposed to be present in an array of tissues including the brain, heart, kidney and gonads. Our previous studies have provided solid evidence that several key elements of the RAS, notably angiotensinogen and renin, are present in the rat pancreas. The data support the existence of an intrinsic RAS in the pancreas and this local RAS may be important for the exocrine/endocrine functions of the pancreas. Interestingly, such a pancreatic RAS has been demonstrated to be markedly activated by experimental rat models of chronic hypoxia and acute pancreatitis. The activation of the pancreatic RAS by chronic hypoxia and experimental pancreatitis could play a role in the physiology and pathophysiology of the pancreas. The significant changes of pancreatic RAS may have clinical relevance to acute pancreatitis and hypoxia-induced injury in the pancreas.