Renin-angiotensin system at the interface of COVID-19 infection.
ABSTRACT: Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has been recognized as a potential entry receptor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Binding of SARS-CoV-2 to ACE2 allows engagement with pulmonary epithelial cells and pulmonary infection with the virus. ACE2 is an essential component of renin-angiotensin system (RAS), and involved in promoting protective effects to counter-regulate angiotensin (Ang) II-induced pathogenesis. The use of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) was implicitly negated during the early phase of COVID-19 pandemic, considering the role of these antihypertensive agents in enhancing ACE2 expression thereby promoting the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. However, no clinical data has supported this assumption, but indeed evidence demonstrates that ACEIs and ARBs, besides their cardioprotective effects in COVID-19 patients with cardiovascular diseases, might also be beneficial in acute lung injuries by preserving the ACE2 function and switching the balance from deleterious ACE/Ang II/AT1 receptor axis towards a protective ACE2/Ang (1-7)/Mas receptor axis.
Project description:The role of the renin-angiotensin signaling (RAS) pathway in COVID-19 has received much attention. A central mechanism for COVID-19 pathophysiology has been proposed: imbalance of angiotensin converting enzymes (ACE)1 and ACE2 (ACE2 being the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [SARS-CoV-2] virus "receptor") that results in tissue injury from angiotensin II (Ang II)-mediated signaling. This mechanism provides a rationale for multiple therapeutic approaches. In parallel, clinical data from retrospective analysis of COVID-19 cohorts has revealed that ACE inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) may be beneficial in COVID-19. These findings have led to the initiation of clinical trials using approved drugs that target the generation (ACEIs) and actions (ARBs) of Ang II. However, treatment of COVID-19 with ACEIs/ARBs poses several challenges. These include choosing appropriate inclusion and exclusion criteria, dose optimization, risk of adverse effects and drug interactions, and verification of target engagement. Other approaches related to the RAS pathway might be considered, for example, inhalational administration of ACEIs/ARBs (to deliver drugs directly to the lungs) and use of compounds with other actions (e.g., activation of ACE2, agonism of MAS1 receptors, β-arrestin-based Angiotensin receptor agonists, and administration of soluble ACE2 or ACE2 peptides). Studies with animal models could test such approaches and assess therapeutic benefit. This Perspective highlights questions whose answers could advance RAS-targeting agents as mechanism-driven ways to blunt tissue injury, morbidity, and mortality of COVID-19.
Project description:<h4>Purpose of review</h4>This review focuses on the associations between the renin-angiotensin system, hypertension, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-COV-2) infection. A brief prelude on the current state of affairs with COVID-19 is given. In addition to an overview of ACE2, Ang II, and Ang (1-7), this review presents a brief statement on hypertension, including the function of enzymes involved in the control of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and other malignancies.<h4>Recent findings</h4>There is currently no data in support of the concerns raised with the use of ACEIs/ARBs. Many researchers have voiced concerns that the use of ACEIs and ARBs may increase tissue ACE2 levels. These researchers therefore recommend that individuals on ACEIs/ARB's medications withhold such antihypertensive drugs, unless advised by their physicians to do so. SARS-CoV-2 uses ACE2 receptors as the port of entry to human hosts. ACE2 and ACE are different enzymes and ACE inhibitors do not inhibit ACE2. Therefore, the use of ARB's or ACEIs should not be discontinued if an individual is infected by SARS-CoV-2. Further studies are required to investigate the effect of ACEIs and ARBs on ACE2 expression and COVID-19.
Project description:ACE inhibitors (ACEis) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are standard-of-care treatments for hypertension and diabetes, common comorbidities among hospitalized patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Their use in the setting of COVID-19 has been heavily debated due to potential interactions with ACE2, an enzyme that links the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory arms of the renin angiotensin system, but also the entryway by which severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) invades cells. ACE2 expression is altered by age, hypertension, diabetes, and the virus itself. This study integrated available information about the renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) and effects of SARS-CoV-2 and its comorbidities on ACE2 into a mechanistic mathematical model and aimed to quantitatively predict effects of ACEi/ARBs on the RAAS pro-inflammatory/anti-inflammatory balance. RAAS blockade prior to SARS-CoV-2 infection is predicted to increase the mas-AT1 receptor occupancy ratio up to 20-fold, indicating that in patients already taking an ACEi/ARB before infection, the anti-inflammatory arm is already elevated while the pro-inflammatory arm is suppressed. Predicted pro-inflammatory shifts in the mas-AT1 ratio due to ACE2 downregulation by SARS-CoV-2 were small relative to anti-inflammatory shifts induced by ACEi/ARB. Predicted effects of changes in ACE2 expression with comorbidities of diabetes, hypertension, or aging on mas-AT1 occupancy ratio were also relatively small. Last, predicted changes in the angiotensin (Ang(1-7)) production rate with ACEi/ARB therapy, comorbidities, or infection were all small relative to exogenous Ang(1-7) infusion rates shown experimentally to protect against acute lung injury, suggesting that any changes in the ACE2-Ang(1-7)-mas arm may not be large enough to play a major role in COVID-19 pathophysiology.
Project description:The rapid spread of a novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has led to an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Recently, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has been shown to be a functional receptor for SARS-CoV-2 to enter host target cells. Given that angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and an ACE inhibitor (ACEI) upregulated ACE2 expression in animal studies, the concern might arise regarding whether ARBs and ACEIs would increase the morbidity and mortality of COVID-19. On the other hand, animal data suggested a potential protective effect of ARBs against COVID-19 pneumonia because an ARB prevented the aggravation of acute lung injury in mice infected with SARS-CoV, which is closely related to SARS-CoV-2. Importantly, however, there is no clinical or experimental evidence supporting that ARBs and ACEIs either augment the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 or aggravate the severity and outcomes of COVID-19 at present. Until further data are available, it is recommended that ARB and ACEI medications be continued for the treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease and hypertension, especially those at high risk, according to guideline-directed medical therapy based on the currently available evidence.
Project description:COVID-19 is spreading globally with the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)-2 serving as the entry point of SARS-CoV-2 virus. This raised concerns how ACE2 and the Renin-Angiotensin (Ang)-System (RAS) are to be dealt with given their roles in hypertension and their involvement in COVID-19's morbidity and mortality. Specifically, increased ACE2 expression in response to treatment with ACE inhibitors (ACEi) and Ang II receptor blockers (ARBs) might theoretically increase COVID-19 risk by increasing SARS-CoV-2 binding sites. However, ACE2 is part of the protective counter-regulatory ACE2-Ang1-7-MasR axis, which opposes the classical ACE-AngII-AT1R regulatory axis. We used Gitelman's and Bartter's syndromes (GS/BS) patients, rare genetic tubulopathies that have endogenously increased levels of ACE2, to explore these issues. Specifically, 128 genetically confirmed GS/BS patients, living in Lombardia, Emilia Romagna and Veneto, the Northern Italy hot spots for COVID-19, were surveyed <i>via</i> telephone survey regarding COVID-19. The survey found no COVID-19 infection and absence of COVID-19 symptoms in any patient. Comparison analysis with the prevalence of COVID-19 in those regions showed statistical significance (<i>p</i> < 0.01). The results of the study strongly suggest that increased ACE2 does not increase risk of COVID-19 and that ACEi and ARBs by blocking excessive AT1R-mediated Ang II activation might favor the increase of ACE2-derived Ang 1-7. GS/BS patients' increased ACE2 and Ang 1-7 levels and their characteristic chronic metabolic alkalosis suggest a mechanism similar to that of chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine effect on ACE2 glycosylation alteration with resulting SARS-COV-2 binding inhibition and blockage/inhibition of viral entry. Studies from our laboratory are ongoing to explore GS/BS ACE2 glycosylation and other potential beneficial effects of BS/GS. Importantly, the absence of frank COVID-19 or of COVID-19 symptoms in the BS/GS patients cohort, given no direct ascertainment of COVID-19 status, suggest that elevated ACE2 levels as found in GS/BS patients at a minimum render COVID-19 infection asymptomatic and thus that COVID-19 symptoms are driven by ACE2 levels.
Project description:Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is currently defined as the worst pandemic disease. SARS-CoV-2 infects human cells via the binding of its S protein to the receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE2). The use of ACEIs/ARBs (RAAS inhibitors) regulates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and may increase ACE2 expression. Considering the large use of ACEIs/ARBs in hypertensive patients, some professional groups are concerned about whether the use of RAAS inhibitors affects the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection or the risk of severe illness and mortality in COVID-19 patients. In this review, we summarize preclinical and clinical studies to investigate whether the use of ACEIs/ARBs increases ACE2 expression in animals or patients. We also analyzed whether the use of these drugs affects the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, severe illness or mortality based on recent studies. Finally, the review suggests that current evidence does not support the concerns.
Project description:Coronavirus disease 2019 is a major threat to public health globally. Though its pathogenesis has not been fully elucidated, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has been recently identified as a receptor for the entry of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into the cell. Here, we aimed to clarify the potential role of ACE2 in SARS-CoV-2-induced acute lung injury and its underlying mechanism. As a receptor for coronavirus, ACE2 mediates the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into cells in a similar way as for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). The high binding affinity of SARS-CoV-2 to ACE2 correlates with its efficient spread among humans. On the other hand, ACE2 negatively regulates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) primarily by converting angiotensin II to angiotensin 1-7, which exerts a beneficial effect on coronavirus-induced acute lung injury. Human recombinant ACE2 has been considered as a potential therapy for SARS-CoV-2 by blocking virus entry and redressing the imbalance of RAAS in SARS-CoV-2 infection. The level of ACE2 expression can be upregulated by treatment with an ACE inhibitor (ACEI) or angiotensin ? type 1 receptor blocker (ARB). To date, no evidence shows that ACEIs or ARBs increase the susceptibility and mortality of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, and hence, it is not advisable to discontinue such drugs in patients with cardiovascular disease.
Project description:Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the receptor for COVID-19 (SARs-CoV-2). ACE2 protects the lung and heart from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and acute myocarditis and arrhythmias, because it breaks down Angiotensin II, which has inflammatory effects in the lung and heart as well as in the kidney. When SARS-CoV-2 binds to ACE2, it suppresses it, so this protective action of ACE2 is lost. Death from COVID-19 is due to ARDS and also heart failure and acute cardiac injury. Drugs that prevent the inflammatory actions of Angiotensin II (i.e., Angiotensin receptor blockers, ARBs) prevent acute lung injury caused by SARS-CoV. Clinical trials are underway to test the risks and benefits of ARBs and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) in COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization. Other potential treatments are also discussed.
Project description:Ever since its outbreak, Corona Virus Disease 2019(COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has affected more than 26 million individuals in more than 200 countries. Although the mortality rate of COVID-19 is low, but several clinical studies showed, patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) or other major complication at high risk of COVID-19 and reported more severe disease and increased fatality. The angiotensin-converting-enzyme 2 (ACE2), a component of renin-angiotensin-system (RAS); acts on ACE/Ang-II/AT1recptor axis, and regulates pathological processes like hypertension, cardiac dysfunction, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) etc. The progression of T2DM and hypertension show decreased expression and activity of ACE2. There are several treatment strategies for controlling diabetes, hypertension, etc; like ACE2 gene therapies, endogenous ACE2 activators, human recombinant ACE2 (hrACE2), Angiotensin-II receptor blockers (ARBs) and ACE inhibitors (ACEi) medications. ACE2, the receptors for SARS-CoV2, facilitates virus entry inside host cell. Clinicians are using two classes of medications for the treatment of COVID-19; one targets the SARS-CoV-2-ACE2 interaction, while other targets human immune system. The aim of this review is to discuss the role of ACE2 in diabetes and in COVID-19 and to provide an analysis of data proposing harm and benefit of RAS inhibitor treatment in COVID-19 infection as well as showing no association whatsoever. This review also highlights some candidate vaccines which are undergoing clinical trials.
Project description:The mechanism for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection requires the binding of the virus to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, well-known for its role in counteracting ACE. ACE2 is involved in modulating blood pressure and establishing blood pressure homeostasis. Recently, a critical debatable question has arisen whether using antihypertensive medications will have a favorable impact on people infected with SARS-CoV-2 or a deleterious one, mainly because angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) and angiotensin-receptor blocker (ARB) therapy can modulate the expression of ACE2 protein. The concern is that the use of ACEIs and ARBs will increase the expression of ACE2 and increase patient susceptibility to viral host cell entry and propagation. On the other hand, several genetic association studies have examined the relationship between ACE2 genetic variants and the risk of developing hypertension in different ethnic populations. In this review, we discuss the ongoing arguments in the literature about ACE2's role in mortality rate among coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients comorbid with hypertension and critically evaluate the current debate about the usage or discontinuation of ACEI/ARB antihypertensive drugs. Moreover, we explore the two opposing roles that ACE2 genetic variants might be playing in COVID-19 by reducing ACE2 receptor effectiveness and mitigating SARS-CoV-2 infectivity.