Antagonism of angiotensin 1-7 prevents the therapeutic effects of recombinant human ACE2.
ABSTRACT: Activation of the angiotensin 1-7/Mas receptor (MasR) axis counteracts angiotensin II (Ang II)-mediated cardiovascular disease. Recombinant human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (rhACE2) generates Ang 1-7 from Ang II. We hypothesized that the therapeutic effects of rhACE2 are dependent on Ang 1-7 action. Wild type male C57BL/6 mice (10-12 weeks old) were infused with Ang II (1.5 mg/kg/d) and treated with rhACE2 (2 mg/kg/d). The Ang 1-7 antagonist, A779 (200 ng/kg/min), was administered to a parallel group of mice. rhACE2 prevented Ang II-induced hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction while A779 prevented these beneficial effects and precipitated systolic dysfunction. rhACE2 effectively antagonized Ang II-mediated myocardial fibrosis which was dependent on the action of Ang 1-7. Myocardial oxidative stress and matrix metalloproteinase 2 activity was further increased by Ang 1-7 inhibition even in the presence of rhACE2. Activation of Akt and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) by rhACE2 were suppressed by the antagonism of Ang 1-7 while the activation of pathological signaling pathways was maintained. Blocking Ang 1-7 action prevents the therapeutic effects of rhACE2 in the setting of elevated Ang II culminating in systolic dysfunction. These results highlight a key cardioprotective role of Ang 1-7, and increased Ang 1-7 action represents a potential therapeutic strategy for cardiovascular diseases.Activation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays a key pathogenic role in cardiovascular disease. ACE2, a monocarboxypeptidase, negatively regulates pathological effects of Ang II. Antagonizing Ang 1-7 prevents the therapeutic effects of recombinant human ACE2. Our results highlight a key protective role of Ang 1-7 in cardiovascular disease.
Project description:Angiotensin (Ang)-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) cleaves Ang II to form Ang-(1-7). Here we examined whether soluble human recombinant ACE2 (rACE2) can efficiently lower Ang II and increase Ang-(1-7) and whether rACE2 can prevent hypertension caused by Ang II infusion as a result of systemic versus local mechanisms of ACE2 activity amplification. rACE2 was infused via osmotic minipumps for 3 days in conscious mice or acutely in anesthetized mice. rACE2 caused a dose-dependent increase in serum ACE2 activity but had no effect on kidney or cardiac ACE2 activity. After Ang II infusion (40 pmol/min), rACE2 (1 mg/kg per day) resulted in normalization of systolic blood pressure and plasma Ang II. In acute studies, rACE2 (1 mg/kg) prevented the rapid hypertensive effect of Ang II (0.2 mg/kg), and this was associated with both a decrease in Ang II and an increase in Ang-(1-7) in plasma. Moreover, during infusion of Ang II, the effect of rACE2 on blood pressure was unaffected by a specific Ang-(1-7) receptor blocker, A779 (0.2 mg/kg), and infusing supraphysiologic levels of Ang-(1-7) (0.2 mg/kg) had no effect on blood pressure. We conclude that, during Ang II infusion, rACE2 effectively degrades Ang II and, in the process, normalizes blood pressure. The mechanism of rACE2 action results from an increase in systemic, not tissue, ACE2 activity and the lowering of plasma Ang II rather than the attendant increase in Ang-(1-7). Increasing ACE2 activity may provide a new therapeutic target in states of Ang II overactivity by enhancing its degradation, an approach that differs from the current focus on blocking Ang II formation and action.
Project description:Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by severe sepsis remains a major challenge in intensive care medicine. ACE2 has been shown to protect against lung injury. However, the mechanisms of its protective effects on ARDS are largely unknown. Here, we report that ACE2 prevents LPS-induced ARDS by inhibiting MAPKs and NF-?B signaling pathway. Lentiviral packaged Ace2 cDNA or Ace2 shRNA was intratracheally administrated into the lungs of male SD rats. Two weeks after gene transfer, animals received LPS (7.5?mg/Kg) injection alone or in combination with Mas receptor antagonist A779 (10??g/Kg) or ACE2 inhibitor MLN-4760 (1?mg/Kg) pretreatment. LPS-induced lung injury and inflammatory response were significantly prevented by ACE2 overexpression and deteriorated by Ace2 shRNA. A779 or MLN-4760 pretreatment abolished the protective effects of ACE2. Moreover, overexpression of ACE2 significantly reduced the Ang II/Ang-(1-7) ratio in BALF and up-regulated Mas mRNA expression in lung, which was reversed by A779. Importantly, the blockade of ACE2 on LPS-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2, p38 and p50/p65 was also abolished by A779. Whereas, only the ERK1/2 inhibitor significantly attenuated lung injury in ACE2 overexpressing rats pretreated with A779. Our observation suggests that AEC2 attenuates LPS-induced ARDS via the Ang-(1-7)/Mas pathway by inhibiting ERK/NF-?B activation.
Project description:Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a deadly disease with no cure. Alternate conversion of angiotensin II (AngII) to angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7)) by angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) resulting in Mas receptor (Mas1) activation improves rodent models of PAH. Effects of recombinant human (rh) ACE2 in human PAH are unknown. Our objective was to determine the effects of rhACE2 in PAH.We defined the molecular effects of Mas1 activation using porcine pulmonary arteries, measured AngII/Ang-(1-7) levels in human PAH and conducted a phase IIa, open-label pilot study of a single infusion of rhACE2 (GSK2586881, 0.2 or 0.4?mg·kg-1 intravenously).Superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) and inflammatory gene expression were identified as markers of Mas1 activation. After confirming reduced plasma ACE2 activity in human PAH, five patients were enrolled in the trial. GSK2586881 was well tolerated with significant improvement in cardiac output and pulmonary vascular resistance. GSK2586881 infusion was associated with reduced plasma markers of inflammation within 2-4?h and increased SOD2 plasma protein at 2?weeks.PAH is characterised by reduced ACE2 activity. Augmentation of ACE2 in a pilot study was well tolerated, associated with improved pulmonary haemodynamics and reduced markers of oxidant and inflammatory mediators. Targeting this pathway may be beneficial in human PAH.
Project description:Diabetic nephropathy is one of the most common causes of end-stage renal failure. Inhibition of ACE2 function accelerates diabetic kidney injury, whereas renal ACE2 is downregulated in diabetic nephropathy. We examined the ability of human recombinant ACE2 (hrACE2) to slow the progression of diabetic kidney injury.Male 12-week-old diabetic Akita mice (Ins2(WT/C96Y)) and control C57BL/6J mice (Ins2(WT/WT)) were injected daily with placebo or with rhACE2 (2 mg/kg, i.p.) for 4 weeks. Albumin excretion, gene expression, histomorphometry, NADPH oxidase activity, and peptide levels were examined. The effect of hrACE2 on high glucose and angiotensin II (ANG II)-induced changes was also examined in cultured mesangial cells.Treatment with hrACE2 increased plasma ACE2 activity, normalized blood pressure, and reduced the urinary albumin excretion in Akita Ins2(WT/C96Y) mice in association with a decreased glomerular mesangial matrix expansion and normalization of increased alpha-smooth muscle actin and collagen III expression. Human recombinant ACE2 increased ANG 1-7 levels, lowered ANG II levels, and reduced NADPH oxidase activity. mRNA levels for p47(phox) and NOX2 and protein levels for protein kinase Calpha (PKCalpha) and PKCbeta1 were also normalized by treatment with hrACE2. In vitro, hrACE2 attenuated both high glucose and ANG II-induced oxidative stress and NADPH oxidase activity.Treatment with hrACE2 attenuates diabetic kidney injury in the Akita mouse in association with a reduction in blood pressure and a decrease in NADPH oxidase activity. In vitro studies show that the protective effect of hrACE2 is due to reduction in ANG II and an increase in ANG 1-7 signaling.
Project description:Angiotensin 1-7 (Ang 1-7) counter-regulates the cardiovascular actions of angiotensin II (Ang II). The present study investigated the protective effect of Ang 1-7 against Ang II-induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and endothelial dysfunction. Ex vivo treatment with Ang II (0.5 ?M, 24 hours) impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation in mouse aortas; this harmful effect of Ang II was reversed by co-treatment with ER stress inhibitors, l4-phenylbutyric acid (PBA) and tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) as well as Ang 1-7. The Mas receptor antagonist, A779, antagonized the effect of Ang 1-7. The elevated mRNA expression of CHOP, Grp78 and ATF4 or protein expression of p-eIF2? and ATF6 (ER stress markers) in Ang II-treated human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and mouse aortas were blunted by co-treatment with Ang 1-7 and the latter effect was reversed by A779. Furthermore, Ang II-induced reduction in both eNOS phosphorylation and NO production was inhibited by Ang 1-7. In addition, Ang 1-7 decreased the levels of ER stress markers and augmented NO production in HUVECs treated with ER stress inducer, tunicamycin. The present study provides new evidence for functional antagonism between the two arms of the renin-angiotensin system in endothelial cells by demonstrating that Ang 1-7 ameliorates Ang II-stimulated ER stress to raise NO bioavailability, and subsequently preserves endothelial function.
Project description:Heart failure (HF) remains the most common cause of death and disability, and a major economic burden, in industrialized nations. Physiological, pharmacological, and clinical studies have demonstrated that activation of the renin-angiotensin system is a key mediator of HF progression. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a homolog of ACE, is a monocarboxypeptidase that converts angiotensin II into angiotensin 1-7 (Ang 1-7) which, by virtue of its actions on the Mas receptor, opposes the molecular and cellular effects of angiotensin II. ACE2 is widely expressed in cardiomyocytes, cardiofibroblasts, and coronary endothelial cells. Recent preclinical translational studies confirmed a critical counter-regulatory role of ACE2/Ang 1-7 axis on the activated renin-angiotensin system that results in HF with preserved ejection fraction. Although loss of ACE2 enhances susceptibility to HF, increasing ACE2 level prevents and reverses the HF phenotype. ACE2 and Ang 1-7 have emerged as a key protective pathway against HF with reduced and preserved ejection fraction. Recombinant human ACE2 has been tested in phase I and II clinical trials without adverse effects while lowering and increasing plasma angiotensin II and Ang 1-7 levels, respectively. This review discusses the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of ACE2 and the role of the ACE2/Ang 1-7 axis in cardiac physiology and in the pathophysiology of HF. The pharmacological and therapeutic potential of enhancing ACE2/Ang 1-7 action as a novel therapy for HF is highlighted.
Project description:The health of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems is inextricably linked to the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Physiologically speaking, a balance between the vasodeleterious (Angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE]/Angiotensin II [Ang II]/Ang II type 1 receptor [AT1R]) and vasoprotective (Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 [ACE2]/Angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)]/Mas receptor [MasR]) components of the RAS is critical for cardiopulmonary homeostasis. Upregulation of the ACE/Ang II/AT1R axis shifts the system toward vasoconstriction, proliferation, hypertrophy, inflammation, and fibrosis, all factors that contribute to the development and progression of cardiopulmonary diseases. Conversely, stimulation of the vasoprotective ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/MasR axis produces a counter-regulatory response that promotes cardiovascular health. Current research is investigating novel strategies to augment actions of the vasoprotective RAS components, particularly ACE2, in order to treat various pathologies. Although multiple approaches to increase the activity of ACE2 have displayed beneficial effects against experimental disease models, the mechanisms behind its protective actions remain incompletely understood. Recent work demonstrating a non-catalytic role for ACE2 in amino acid transport in the gut has led us to speculate that the therapeutic effects of ACE2 can be mediated, in part, by its actions on the gastrointestinal tract and/or gut microbiome. This is consistent with emerging data which suggest that dysbiosis of the gut and lung microbiomes is associated with cardiopulmonary disease. This review highlights new developments in the protective actions of ACE2 against cardiopulmonary disorders, discusses innovative approaches to targeting ACE2 for therapy, and explores an evolving role for gut and lung microbiota in cardiopulmonary health.
Project description:Hypertension is one of the major predisposing factors for neurodegenerative disease characterized with activated renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in both periphery and brain. Vitamin D (VitD) is recently recognized as a pleiotropic hormone with strong neuroprotective properties. While multiple lines of evidence suggest that VitD can act on RAS, the evidence concerning the crosstalk between VitD and RAS in the brain is limited. Therefore, this study aims to evaluate whether VitD can modulate brain RAS to trigger neuroprotective actions in the brain of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Our data showed that calcitriol treatment induced VDR expression and inhibited neural death in the prefrontal cortex of SHR. Sustained calcitriol administration also inhibited microglia M1 polarization, but enhanced M2 polarization, accompanied with decreased expression of proinflammatory cytokines. We then further explored the potential mechanisms and showed that SHR exhibited overactivated classical RAS with increased expression of angiotensin II (Ang II) receptor type 1 (AT1), angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and Ang II production, whereas the counteracting arm of traditional RAS, ACE2/Ang(1-7)/MasR, was impaired in the SHR brain. Calcitriol nonsignificantly suppressed AT1 and ACE but markedly reduced Ang II formation. Intriguingly, calcitriol exerted pronouncedly impact on ACE2/Ang(1-7)/MasR axis with enhanced expression of ACE2, MasR and Ang(1-7) generation. Meanwhile, calcitriol ameliorated the overactivation of NADPH-oxidase (Nox), the downstream of RAS, in SHR, and also mitigated oxidative stress. In microglial (BV2) cells, we further found that calcitriol induced ACE2 and MasR with no significant impact on ACE and AT1. In accordance, calcitriol also attenuated Ang II-induced Nox activation and ROS production, and shifted the microglia polarization from M1 to M2 phenotype. However, co-treatment with A779, a specific MasR antagonist, abrogated the antioxidant and neuroimmune modulating actions of VitD. These findings strongly indicate the involvement of ACE2/Ang(1-7)/MasR pathway in the neuroprotective mechanisms of VitD in the hypertensive brain.
Project description:Retinal inflammation is a devastating pathological process in ocular diseases. Functional impairment of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is associated with inflammatory retinal diseases. Enhancing the protective axis namely ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas by activation of ACE2 presents anti-inflammatory properties. We investigated whether diminazene aceturate (DIZE), an angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) activator, prevented lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory response by activating the protective axis and whether the effect was mediated by inhibiting the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and the nuclear factor-?B (NF-?B) pathways.Cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay and real-time PCR were used to determine the optimum concentration and incubation time of DIZE. ARPE-19 cells and primary cultured human retinal pigment epithelia (hRPE) were incubated with or without 10 ?g/mL DIZE for 6 h before stimulated with 5 ?g/mL LPS for 24 h. The mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines, AT1R, and AT2R was analyzed. The protein level of inflammatory cytokines, Ang II, and Ang-(1-7) was detected. Phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and phosphorylated transcription inhibition factor-?B-? (p-I?B-?) were measured. Inhibitors of MAPKs and NF-?B were added to verify the involvement of these pathways. A small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeted to ACE2 and a selective Ang-(1-7) antagonist A779 was used to confirm the role of ACE2 and the involvement of ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis.DIZE remarkably increased the expression of ACE2 and inhibited the expression of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 at both mRNA and protein levels in both RPE cell lines stimulated with LPS. Inhibitors of p38, ERK1/2, JNK, and NF-?B significantly decreased LPS-induced overproduction of IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1. DIZE reduced the expression of Ang II and AT1R, whereas increased Ang-(1-7). Furthermore, DIZE downregulated the phosphorylation of p38MAPK, ERK1/2, JNK, and the activation of NF-?B upon stimulation with LPS. Downregulating ACE2 and pre-treatment with A779 abrogated the effects of DIZE on production of cytokines, the expression of Ang II, Ang-(1-7), AT1R, phosphorylation of MAPKs and activation of NF-?B.DIZE inhibits LPS-induced inflammatory response by activating ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis in human RPE cells. The protective effect is mediated by inhibiting the p38MAPK, ERK1/2, JNK, and NF-?B pathways.
Project description:ACE2 and Ang-(1-7) have important roles in preventing acute lung injury. However, it is not clear whether upregulation of the ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis prevents LPS-induced injury in pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (PMVECs) by inhibiting the MAPKs/NF-κB pathways. Primary cultured rat PMVECs were transduced with lentiviral-borne Ace2 or shRNA-Ace2, and then treated or not with Mas receptor blocker (A779) before exposure to LPS. LPS stimulation resulted in the higher levels of AngII, Ang-(1-7), cytokine secretion, and apoptosis rates, and the lower ACE2/ACE ratio. Ace2 reversed the ACE2/ACE imbalance and increased Ang-(1-7) levels, thus reducing LPS-induced apoptosis and inflammation, while inhibition of Ace2 reversed all these effects. A779 abolished these protective effects of Ace2. LPS treatment was associated with activation of the ERK, p38, JNK, and NF-κB pathways, which were aggravated by A779. Pretreatment with A779 prevented the Ace2-induced blockade of p38, JNK, and NF-κB phosphorylation. However, only JNK inhibitor markedly reduced apoptosis and cytokine secretion in PMVECs with Ace2 deletion and A779 pretreatment. These results suggest that the ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis has a crucial role in preventing LPS-induced apoptosis and inflammation of PMVECs, by inhibiting the JNK/NF-κB pathways.