Linking ACE2 and angiotensin II to pulmonary immunovascular dysregulation in SARS-CoV-2 infection.
ABSTRACT: Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the receptor of the novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. ACE2 has been shown to be down-regulated during coronaviral infection, with implications for circulatory homeostasis. In COVID-19, pulmonary vascular dysregulation has been observed resulting in ventilation perfusion mismatches in lung tissue, causing profound hypoxemia. Despite the loss of ACE2 and raised circulating vasoconstrictor angiotensin II (AngII), COVID-19 patients experience a vasodilative vasculopathy. This article discusses the interplay between the immune system and pulmonary vasculature and how SARS-CoV-2-mediated ACE2 disruption and AngII may contribute to the novel vascular pathophysiology of COVID-19.
Project description:The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has brought into focus the key role of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which serves as a cell surface receptor required for the virus to enter cells. SARS-CoV-2 can decrease cell surface ACE2 directly by internalization of ACE2 bound to the virus and indirectly by increased ADAM17 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17)-mediated shedding of ACE2. ACE2 is widely expressed in the heart, lungs, vasculature, kidney and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, where it counteracts the deleterious effects of angiotensin II (AngII) by catalyzing the conversion of AngII into the vasodilator peptide angiotensin-(1-7) (Ang-(1-7)). The down-regulation of ACE2 by SARS-CoV-2 can be detrimental to the cardiovascular system and kidneys. Further, decreased ACE2 can cause gut dysbiosis, inflammation and potentially worsen the systemic inflammatory response and coagulopathy associated with SARS-CoV-2. This review aims to elucidate the crucial role of ACE2 both as a regulator of the renin-angiotensin system and a receptor for SARS-CoV-2 as well as the implications for Coronavirus disease 19 and its associated cardiovascular and renal complications.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel coronavirus that has given rise to the devastating global pandemic. In most cases, SARS-CoV-2 infection results in the development of viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, known as 'coronavirus disease 2019' or COVID-19. Intriguingly, besides the respiratory tract, COVID-19 affects other organs and systems of the human body. COVID-19 patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease have a higher risk of death, and SARS-CoV-2 infection itself may cause myocardial inflammation and injury. One possible explanation of such phenomena is the fact that SARS-CoV-2 utilizes angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as the receptor required for viral entry. ACE2 is expressed in the cells of many organs, including the heart. ACE2 functions as a carboxypeptidase that can cleave several endogenous substrates, including angiotensin II, thus regulating blood pressure and vascular tone. It remains largely unknown if the SARS-CoV-2 infection alters the enzymatic properties of ACE2, thereby contributing to cardiovascular complications in patients with COVID-19. Here, we demonstrate that ACE2 cleavage of des-Arg9-bradykinin substrate analogue is markedly accelerated, while cleavage of angiotensin II analogue is minimally affected by the binding of spike protein. These findings may have implications for a better understanding of COVID-19 pathogenesis.
Project description:Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has emerged as a pandemic affecting millions of adults. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2019 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative virus of COVID-19, infects host cells through angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Preclinical models suggest that ACE2 upregulation confers protective effects in acute lung injury. In addition, renin-angiotensin aldosterone system inhibitors reduce adverse atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease outcomes, but may increase ACE2 levels. We review current knowledge of the role of ACE2 in cardiovascular physiology and SARS-CoV-2 virology, as well as clinical data to inform the management of patients with or at risk for COVID-19 who require renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitor therapy.
Project description:Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) plays an important role in inflammation, which is attributable at least, in part, to the conversion of the pro-inflammatory angiotensin (Ang) II peptide into angiotensin 1-7 (Ang 1-7), a peptide which opposes the actions of AngII. ACE2 and AngII are present in many tissues but information on the cornea is lacking. We observed that mice deficient in the Ace2 gene (Ace2<sup>-/-</sup> ), developed a cloudy cornea phenotype as they aged. Haze occupied the central cornea, accompanied by corneal edema and neovascularization. In severe cases with marked chronic inflammation, a cell-fate switch from a transparent corneal epithelium to a keratinized, stratified squamous, psoriasiform-like epidermis was observed. The stroma contained a large number of CD11c, CD68, and CD3 positive cells. Corneal epithelial debridement experiments in young ACE2-deficient mice showed normal appearing corneas, devoid of haze. We hypothesized, however, that these mice are "primed" for a corneal inflammatory response, which once initiated, would persist. In vitro studies reveal that interleukins (IL-1a, IL-1b), chemokines (CCL2, CXCL8), and TNF-α, are all significantly elevated, resulting in a cytokine storm-like phenotype. This phenotype could be partially rescued by treatment with the AngII type 1 receptor (AT1R) antagonist, losartan, suggesting that the observed effect was mediated by AngII acting on its main receptor. Since the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) utilizes human ACE2 as the receptor for entry with subsequent downregulation of ACE2, corneal inflammation in Ace2<sup>-/-</sup> mice may have a similar mechanism with that in COVID-19 patients. Thus the Ace2<sup>-/-</sup> cornea, because of easy accessibility, may provide an attractive model to explore the molecular mechanisms, immunological changes, and treatment modalities in patients with COVID-19.
Project description:The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (COVID-19) that is causing the massive global pandemic exhibits similar human cell invasion mechanism as the coronavirus SARS-CoV, which had significantly lower fatalities. The cell membrane protein Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the initiation point for both the coronavirus infections in humans. Here, we model the molecular interactions and mechanical properties of ACE2 with both SARS-CoV and COVID-19 spike protein receptor-binding domains (RBD). We report that the COVID-19 spike RBD interacts with ACE2 more strongly and at only two protein residues, as compared to multi-residue interaction of the SARS-CoV. Although both coronaviruses stiffen the ACE2, the impact of COVID-19 is six times larger, which points towards differences in the severity of the reported respiratory distress. The recognition of specific residues of ACE2 attachments to coronaviruses is important as the residues suggest potential sites of intervention to inhibit attachment and subsequent entry of the COVID-19 into human host cells.
Project description:The effects of obesity and smoking in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic remain controversial. Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a component of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), is the human cell receptor of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19. ACE2 expression increases on lung alveolar epithelial cells and adipose tissue due to obesity, smoking and air pollution. A significant relationship exists between air pollution and SARS-CoV-2 infection, as more severe COVID-19 symptoms occur in smokers; comorbid conditions due to obesity or excess ectopic fat accumulation as underlying risk factors for severe COVID-19 strongly encourage the virus/ACE2 receptor-ligand interaction concept. Indeed, obesity, air pollution and smoking associated risk factors share underlying pathophysiologies that are related to the Renin-Angiotensin-System in SARS-CoV-2 infection. The aim of this review is to emphasize the mechanism of receptor-ligand interaction and its impact on the enhanced risk of death due to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Project description:Effective intervention strategies are urgently needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a membrane-bound carboxypeptidase that forms a dimer and serves as the cellular receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). ACE2 is also a key negative regulator of the renin-angiotensin system that modulates vascular functions. We report here the properties of a trimeric ACE2 ectodomain variant, engineered using a structure-based approach. The trimeric ACE2 variant has a binding affinity of ~60 pM for the spike protein of SARS‑CoV‑2 (compared with 77 nM for monomeric ACE2 and 12-22 nM for dimeric ACE2 constructs), and its peptidase activity and the ability to block activation of angiotensin II receptor type 1 in the renin-angiotensin system are preserved. Moreover, the engineered ACE2 potently inhibits SARS‑CoV‑2 infection in cell culture. These results suggest that engineered, trimeric ACE2 may be a promising anti-SARS-CoV-2 agent for treating COVID-19.
Project description:COVID-19 pandemic is caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is not only an enzyme but also a functional receptor on cell surfaces through which SARS-CoV-2 enters the host cells and is highly expressed in the heart, kidneys, and lungs and shed into the plasma. ACE2 is a key regulator of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). SARS-CoV-2 causes ACE/ACE2 balance disruption and RAAS activation, which leads ultimately to COVID-19 progression, especially in patients with comorbidities, such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, ACE2 expression may have paradoxical effects, aiding SARS-CoV-2 pathogenicity, yet conversely limiting viral infection. This article reviews the existing literature and knowledge of ACE2 in COVID-19 setting and focuses on its pathophysiologic involvement in disease progression, clinical outcomes, and therapeutic potential.
Project description:The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) enters host cells by interacting with membrane-bound angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a vital element in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which regulates blood pressure, fluid balance, and cardiovascular functions. We herein evaluate existing evidence for the molecular alterations within the RAS pathway (e.g., ACE2 and angiotensin II) during SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This includes reports regarding potential effect of RAS blockade (e.g., ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers) on ACE2 expression and clinical outcomes in patients with co-morbidities commonly treated with these agents. The collective evidence suggests a dual role for ACE2 in COVID-19, depending on the stage of infection and the coexisting diseases in individual patients. This information is further discussed with respect to potential therapeutic strategies targeting RAS for COVID-19 treatment.
Project description:The global pandemic of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has taken the entire human race by surprise and led to an unprecedented number of mortalities worldwide so far. Current clinical studies have interpreted that angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the host receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). In addition, ACE2 is the major component of the renin-angiotensin system. ACE2 deteriorates angiotensin II, a peptide that is responsible for the promotion of stroke. The downregulation of ACE2 further activates an immunological cascade. Thus, researchers need to explore and examine the possible links between COVID-19 and ischemic stroke (IS). Human ACE2 expression level and pattern in various tissues might be decisive for the vulnerability, symptoms, and treatment outcomes of the SARS-CoV-2 infection. The swift increase in the knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 has given creditable evidence that SARS-CoV-2 infected patients also encounter neurological deficits. As the SARS-CoV-2 binds to ACE2, it will hamper the activity of ACE2 in providing neuroprotection, especially in the case of stroke patients. Due to the downregulation of ACE2, the inflammatory response is activated in the ischemic penumbra. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people with various pre-existing diseases, including IS, in such a way that these patients need special care and attention for their survival. Several clinical trials are currently ongoing worldwide as well as many other projects are in different stages of conceptualization and planning to facilitate the effective management of stroke patients with COVID-19 infection.