Evidence for a role of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 in proteinuria of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome.
ABSTRACT: Introduction: Renin angiotensin system (RAS) plays a role in idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS). Most studies investigated only the classical RAS axis. Therefore, the aims of the present study were to evaluate urinary levels of RAS molecules related to classical and to counter-regulatory axes in pediatric patients with INS, to compare the measurements with levels in healthy controls and to search for associations with inflammatory molecules, proteinuria and disease treatment. Subjects and methods: This cross-sectional study included 31 patients with INS and 19 healthy controls, matched for age and sex. Patients and controls were submitted to urine collection for measurement of RAS molecules [Ang II, Ang-(1-7), ACE and ACE2] by enzyme immunoassay and cytokines by Cytometric Bead Array. Findings in INS patients were compared according to proteinuria: absent (<150?mg/dl, n = 15) and present (?150?mg/dl, n = 16). Results: In comparison to controls, INS patients had increased Ang II, Ang-(1-7) and ACE, levels while ACE2 was reduced. INS patients with proteinuria had lower levels of ACE2 than those without proteinuria. ACE2 levels were negatively correlated with 24-h-proteinuria. Urinary concentrations of MCP-1/CCL2 were significantly higher in INS patients, positively correlated with Ang II and negatively with Ang-(1-7). ACE2 concentrations were negatively correlated with IP-10/CXCL-10 levels, which, in turn, were positively correlated with 24-h-proteinuria. Conclusion: INS patients exhibited changes in RAS molecules and in chemokines. Proteinuria was associated with low levels of ACE2 and high levels of inflammatory molecules.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) has significant influences on heart and renal disease progression. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2) are major peptidases of RAS components and play counteracting functions through angiotensin II (Ang II)/ATIR and angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7))/Mas axis, respectively. METHODS:There were 360 uremic patients on regular hemodialysis (HD) treatment (inclusive of 119?HD patients with cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and 241?HD patients without CVD and 50 healthy subjects were enrolled in this study. Plasma ACE, ACE2, Ang II and Ang-(1-7) levels of the HD patients were determined. RESULTS:We compared pre-HD levels of plasma ACE, ACE2, Ang II and Ang-(1-7) in the HD patients with and without CVD to those of the controls. The HD patients, particularly those with CVD, showed a significant increase in the levels of ACE and Ang II, whereas ACE2 and Ang-(1-7) levels were lower than those in the healthy controls. Therefore, imbalanced ACE/ACE2 was observed in the HD patients with CVD. In the course of a single HD session, the plasma ACE, ACE/ACE2 and Ang II levels in the HD patients with CVD were increased from pre-HD to post-HD. On the contrary, ACE2 levels were decreased after the HD session. These changes were not detected in the HD patients without CVD. CONCLUSIONS:Pathogenically imbalanced circulating ACE/ACE2 was detected in the HD patients, particularly those with CVD. HD session could increase ACE/Ang II/AT1R axis and decrease ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis activity in the circulation of HD patients with CVD.
Project description:There is a large unmet need for effective therapies for cholestatic disorders, including primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a disease that commonly results in liver failure. Angiotensin (Ang) II of the renin Ang system (RAS) is a potent profibrotic peptide, and Ang converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) of the alternate RAS breaks down Ang II to antifibrotic peptide Ang-(1-7). In the present study, we investigated long-term effects of ACE2 delivered by an adeno-associated viral vector and short-term effects of Ang-(1-7) peptide in multiple drug-resistant gene 2-knockout (Mdr2-KO) mice. These mice develop progressive biliary fibrosis with pathologic features closely resembling those observed in PSC. A single intraperitoneal injection of ACE2 therapy markedly reduced liver injury (P < 0.05) and biliary fibrosis (P < 0.01) at both established (3-6 months of age) and advanced (7-9 months of age) disease compared to control vector-injected Mdr2-KO mice. This was accompanied by increased hepatic Ang-(1-7) levels (P < 0.05) with concomitant reduction in hepatic Ang II levels (P < 0.05) compared to controls. Moreover, Ang-(1-7) peptide infusion improved liver injury (P < 0.05) and biliary fibrosis (P < 0.0001) compared to saline-infused disease controls. The therapeutic effects of both ACE2 therapy and Ang-(1-7) infusion were associated with significant (P < 0.01) reduction in hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation and collagen expression. While ACE2 therapy prevented the loss of epithelial characteristics of hepatocytes and/or cholangiocytes in vivo, Ang-(1-7) prevented transdifferentiation of human cholangiocytes (H69 cells) into the collagen-secreting myofibroblastic phenotype in vitro. We showed that an increased ratio of hepatic Ang-(1-7) to Ang II levels by ACE2 therapy results in the inhibition of HSC activation and biliary fibrosis. Conclusion: ACE2 therapy has the potential to treat patients with biliary diseases, such as PSC.
Project description:Angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) is a multifunctional transmembrane protein recently recognised as the entry receptor of the virus causing COVID-19. In the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), ACE2 cleaves angiotensin II (Ang II) into angiotensin 1-7 (Ang 1-7), which is considered to exert cellular responses to counteract the activation of the RAS primarily through a receptor, Mas, in multiple organs including skeletal muscle. Previous studies have provided abundant evidence suggesting that Ang 1-7 modulates multiple signalling pathways leading to protection from pathological muscle remodelling and muscle insulin resistance. In contrast, there is relatively little evidence to support the protective role of ACE2 in skeletal muscle. The potential contribution of endogenous ACE2 to the regulation of Ang 1-7-mediated protection of these muscle pathologies is discussed in this review. Recent studies have suggested that ACE2 protects against ageing-associated muscle wasting (sarcopenia) through its function to modulate molecules outside of the RAS. Thus, the potential association of sarcopenia with ACE2 and the associated molecules outside of RAS is also presented herein. Further, we introduce the transcriptional regulation of muscle ACE2 by drugs or exercise, and briefly discuss the potential role of ACE2 in the development of COVID-19.
Project description:The classical axis of renin-angiotensin system (RAS), angiotensin (Ang)-converting enzyme (ACE)/Ang II/AT1, contributes to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, the role of bypass axis of RAS (Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)/Ang-(1-7)/Mas) in hepatic steatosis is still unclear. Here we showed that deletion of ACE2 aggravates liver steatosis, which is correlated with the increased expression of hepatic lipogenic genes and the decreased expression of fatty acid oxidation-related genes in the liver of ACE2 knockout (ACE2(-/y)) mice. Meanwhile, oxidative stress and inflammation were also aggravated in ACE2(-/y) mice. On the contrary, overexpression of ACE2 improved fatty liver in db/db mice, and the mRNA levels of fatty acid oxidation-related genes were up-regulated. In vitro, Ang-(1-7)/ACE2 ameliorated hepatic steatosis, oxidative stress and inflammation in free fatty acid (FFA)-induced HepG2 cells, and what's more, Akt inhibitors reduced ACE2-mediated lipid metabolism. Furthermore, ACE2-mediated Akt activation could be attenuated by blockade of ATP/P2 receptor/Calmodulin (CaM) pathway. These results indicated that Ang-(1-7)/ACE2/Mas axis may reduce liver lipid accumulation partly by regulating lipid-metabolizing genes through ATP/P2 receptor/CaM signaling pathway. Our findings support the potential role of ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas axis in prevention and treatment of hepatic lipid metabolism.
Project description:Podocyte injury has recently been described as unifying feature in idiopathic nephrotic syndromes (INS). Puumala hantavirus (PUUV) infection represents a unique RNA virus-induced renal disease with significant proteinuria. The underlying pathomechanism is unclear. We hypothesized that PUUV infection results in podocyte injury, similar to findings in INS. We therefore analyzed standard markers of glomerular proteinuria (e.g. immunoglobulin G [IgG]), urinary nephrin excretion (podocyte injury) and serum levels of the soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR), a proposed pathomechanically involved molecule in INS, in PUUV-infected patients. Hantavirus patients showed significantly increased urinary nephrin, IgG and serum suPAR concentrations compared to healthy controls. Nephrin and IgG levels were significantly higher in patients with severe proteinuria than with mild proteinuria, and nephrin correlated strongly with biomarkers of glomerular proteinuria over time. Congruently, electron microcopy analyses showed a focal podocyte foot process effacement. suPAR correlated significantly with urinary nephrin, IgG and albumin levels, suggesting suPAR as a pathophysiological mediator in podocyte dysfunction. In contrast to INS, proteinuria recovered autonomously in hantavirus patients. This study reveals podocyte injury as main cause of proteinuria in hantavirus patients. A better understanding of the regenerative nature of hantavirus-induced glomerulopathy may generate new therapeutic approaches for INS.
Project description:Hyperactivity of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) resulting in elevated Angiotensin II (Ang II) contributes to all stages of inflammatory responses including ocular inflammation. The discovery of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has established a protective axis of RAS involving ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/Mas that counteracts the proinflammatory and hypertrophic effects of the deleterious ACE/AngII/AT1R axis. Here we investigated the hypothesis that enhancing the systemic and local activity of the protective axis of the RAS by oral delivery of ACE2 and Ang-(1-7) bioencapsulated in plant cells would confer protection against ocular inflammation. Both ACE2 and Ang-(1-7), fused with the non-toxic cholera toxin subunit B (CTB) were expressed in plant chloroplasts. Increased levels of ACE2 and Ang-(1-7) were observed in circulation and retina after oral administration of CTB-ACE2 and Ang-(1-7) expressing plant cells. Oral feeding of mice with bioencapsulated ACE2/Ang-(1-7) significantly reduced endotoxin-induced uveitis (EIU) in mice. Treatment with bioencapsulated ACE2/Ang-(1-7) also dramatically decreased cellular infiltration, retinal vasculitis, damage and folding in experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU). Thus, enhancing the protective axis of RAS by oral delivery of ACE2/Ang-(1-7) bioencapsulated in plant cells provide an innovative, highly efficient and cost-effective therapeutic strategy for ocular inflammatory diseases.
Project description:Despite evidence that hyperactivity of the vasodeleterious axis (ACE/angiotensin II (Ang II)/AT1 receptor) of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is associated with the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy (DR) use of the inhibitors of this axis has met with limited success in the control of this pathophysiology. We investigated the hypothesis that enhancing the local activity of the recently established protective axis of the RAS, ACE2/Ang-(1-7), using adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene delivery of ACE2 or Ang-(1-7) would confer protection against diabetes-induced retinopathy. Genes expressing ACE2 and Ang-(1-7) were cloned in AAV vector. The effects of ocular AAV-ACE2/Ang-(1-7) gene transfer on DR in diabetic eNOS(-/-) mice and Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were examined. Diabetes was associated with approximately tenfold and greater than threefold increases in the ratios of ACE/ACE2 and AT1R/Mas mRNA levels in the retina respectively. Intraocular administration of AAV-ACE2/Ang-(1-7) resulted in significant reduction in diabetes-induced retinal vascular leakage, acellular capillaries, infiltrating inflammatory cells and oxidative damage in both diabetic mice and rats. Our results demonstrate that DR is associated with impaired balance of retinal RAS. Increased expression of ACE2/Ang-(1-7) overcomes this imbalance and confers protection against DR. Thus, strategies enhancing the protective ACE2/Ang-(1-7) axis of RAS in the eye could serve as a novel therapeutic target for DR.
Project description:As a counter-regulatory arm of the renin angiotensin system (RAS), the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2-angiotensin-(1-7)-MAS axis (ACE2-Ang-(1-7)-MAS axis) plays a protective role in cardiovascular diseases. However, the link between circulating levels of ACE2-Ang-(1-7)-Mas axis and coronary atherosclerosis in humans is not determined. The object of present study was to investigate the association of circulating levels of ACE2, Ang-(1-7) and Ang-(1-9) with coronary heart disease (CHD) defined by coronary angiography (CAG). 275 patients who were referred to CAG for the evaluation of suspected CHD were enrolled and divided into two groups: CHD group (diameter narrowing ≥ 50%, n = 218) and non-CHD group (diameter narrowing < 50%, n = 57). Circulating ACE2, Ang-(1-7) and Ang-(1-9) levels were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In females, circulating ACE2 levels were higher in the CHD group than in the non-CHD group (5617.16 ± 5206.67 vs. 3124.06 ± 3005.36 pg/ml, P = 0.009), and subgroup analysis showed the significant differences in ACE2 levels between the two groups only exist in patients with multi-vessel lesions (P = 0.009). In multivariate logistic regression, compared with the people in the lowest ACE2 quartile, those in the highest quartile had an OR of 4.33 (95% CI 1.20-15.61) for the CHD (P for trend = 0.025), the OR was 5.94 (95% CI 1.08-32.51) for the third ACE2 quartile and 9.58 (95% CI 1.61-56.95) for the highest ACE2 quartile after adjusting for potential confounders (P for trend = 0.022). However, circulating Ang-(1-7) and Ang-(1-9) levels had no significant differences between the two groups. In males, there were no significant differences in the levels of ACE2-Ang-(1-7)-MAS axis between two groups. Together, circulating ACE2 levels, but not Ang-(1-7) and Ang-(1-9) levels, significantly increased in female CHD group when compared with non-CHD group, increased ACE2 was independently associated with CHD in female and in patients with multi-vessel lesions even after adjusting for the confounding factors, indicating that ACE2 may participate as a compensatory mechanism in CHD.
Project description:Hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke, coronary events, heart and renal failure, and the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) plays a major role in its pathogenesis. Within the RAS, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) converts angiotensin (Ang) I into the vasoconstrictor Ang II. An "alternate" arm of the RAS now exists in which ACE2 counterbalances the effects of the classic RAS through degradation of Ang II, and generation of the vasodilator Ang 1-7. ACE2 is highly expressed in the heart, blood vessels, and kidney. The catalytically active ectodomain of ACE2 undergoes shedding, resulting in ACE2 in the circulation. The ACE2 gene maps to a quantitative trait locus on the X chromosome in three strains of genetically hypertensive rats, suggesting that ACE2 may be a candidate gene for hypertension. It is hypothesized that disruption of tissue ACE/ACE2 balance results in changes in blood pressure, with increased ACE2 expression protecting against increased blood pressure, and ACE2 deficiency contributing to hypertension. Experimental hypertension studies have measured ACE2 in either the heart or kidney and/or plasma, and have reported that deletion or inhibition of ACE2 leads to hypertension, whilst enhancing ACE2 protects against the development of hypertension, hence increasing ACE2 may be a therapeutic option for the management of high blood pressure in man. There have been relatively few studies of ACE2, either at the gene or the circulating level in patients with hypertension. Plasma ACE2 activity is low in healthy subjects, but elevated in patients with cardiovascular risk factors or cardiovascular disease. Genetic studies have investigated ACE2 gene polymorphisms with either hypertension or blood pressure, and have produced largely inconsistent findings. This review discusses the evidence regarding ACE2 in experimental hypertension models and the association between circulating ACE2 activity and ACE2 polymorphisms with blood pressure and arterial hypertension in man.
Project description:The emergence of SARS-CoV-2/human/Wuhan/X1/2019, a virus belonging to the species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, and the recognition of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a pandemic have highly increased the scientific research regarding the pathogenesis of COVID-19. The Renin Angiotensin System (RAS) seems to be involved in COVID-19 natural course, since studies suggest the membrane-bound Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) works as SARS-CoV-2 cellular receptor. Besides the efforts of the scientific community to understand the virus' molecular interactions with human cells, few studies summarize what has been so far discovered about SARS-CoV-2 signaling mechanisms and its interactions with RAS molecules. This review aims to discuss possible SARS-CoV-2 intracellular signaling pathways, cell entry mechanism and the possible consequences of the interaction with RAS components, including Angiotensin II (Ang II), Angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)], Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), ACE2, Angiotensin II receptor type-1 (AT1), and Mas Receptor. We also discuss ongoing clinical trials and treatment based on RAS cascade intervention. Data were obtained independently by the two authors who carried out a search in the PubMed, Embase, LILACS, Cochrane, Scopus, SciELO and the National Institute of Health databases using Medical Subject Heading terms as "SARS-CoV-2," "COVID-19," "Renin Angiotensin System," "ACE2," "Angiotensin II," "Angiotensin-(1-7)," and "AT1 receptor." Similarly to other members of Coronaviridae family, the molecular interactions between the pathogen and the membrane-bound ACE2 are based on the cleavage of the spike glycoprotein (S) in two subunits. Following the binding of the S1 receptor-binding domain (RBD) to ACE2, transmembrane protease/serine subfamily 2 (TMPRSS2) cleaves the S2 domain to facilitate membrane fusion. It is very likely that SARS-CoV-2 cell entry results in downregulation of membrane-bound ACE2, an enzyme that converts Ang II into Ang-(1-7). This mechanism can result in lung injury and vasoconstriction. In addition, Ang II activates pro-inflammatory cascades when binding to the AT1 Receptor. On the other hand, Ang-(1-7) promotes anti-inflammatory effects through its interactions with the Mas Receptor. These molecules might be possible therapeutic targets for treating COVID-19. Thus, the understanding of SARS-CoV-2 intracellular pathways and interactions with the RAS may clarify COVID-19 physiopathology and open perspectives for new treatments and strategies.