Expression of ACE2, Soluble ACE2, Angiotensin I, Angiotensin II and Angiotensin-(1-7) Is Modulated in COVID-19 Patients.
ABSTRACT: The etiological agent of COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2, is primarily a pulmonary-tropic coronavirus. Infection of alveolar pneumocytes by SARS-CoV-2 requires virus binding to the angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) monocarboxypeptidase. ACE2, present on the surface of many cell types, is known to be a regulator of blood pressure homeostasis through its ability to catalyze the proteolysis of Angiotensin II (Ang II) into Angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)]. We therefore hypothesized that SARS-CoV-2 could trigger variations of ACE2 expression and Ang II plasma concentration in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. We report here, that circulating blood cells from COVID-19 patients express less ACE2 mRNA than cells from healthy volunteers. At the level of circulating cells, this ACE2 gene dysregulation mainly affects the monocytes, which also show a lower expression of membrane ACE2 protein. Moreover, soluble ACE2 (sACE2) plasma concentrations are lower in prolonged viral shedders than in healthy controls, while the concentration of sACE2 returns to normal levels in short viral shedders. In the plasma of prolonged viral shedders, we also found higher concentrations of Ang II and angiotensin I (Ang I). On the other hand, the plasma levels of Ang-(1-7) remains almost stable in prolonged viral shedders but seems insufficient to prevent the adverse effects of Ang II accumulation. Altogether, these data evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 may affect the expression of blood pressure regulators with possible harmful consequences on COVID-19 outcome.
Project description:Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a transmembrane glycoprotein, is an important part of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). In the COVID-19 epidemic, it was found to be the receptor of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2). ACE2 maintains homeostasis by inhibiting the Ang II-AT1R axis and activating the Ang I (1-7)-MasR axis, protecting against lung, heart and kidney injury. In addition, ACE2 helps transport amino acids across the membrane. ACE2 sheds from the membrane, producing soluble ACE2 (sACE2). Previous studies have pointed out that sACE2 plays a role in the pathology of the disease, but the underlying mechanism is not yet clear. Recent studies have confirmed that sACE2 can also act as the receptor of SARS-COV-2, mediating viral entry into the cell and then spreading to the infective area. Elevated concentrations of sACE2 are more related to disease. Recombinant human ACE2, an exogenous soluble ACE2, can be used to supplement endogenous ACE2. It may represent a potent COVID-19 treatment in the future. However, the specific administration concentration needs to be further investigated.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4> Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a metallopeptidase that primarily functions as a negative regulator of renin angiotensin system (RAS) by converting angiotensin II (Ang II) to angiotensin 1-7. Contrary to this, another RAS component, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) catalyzes synthesis of Ang II from angiotensin I (Ang I) that functions as active compound in blood pressure regulation. This indicates importance of ACE/ACE2 level in regulating blood pressure by targeting Ang II. An outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) highlighted the additional role of ACE2 as a receptor for SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection. <h4>Main body of the abstract</h4> ACE2 is a functional receptor for SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. Activation of spike (S)-protein by either type II transmembrane serine proteases (TTSPs) or cathepsin-mediated cleavage initiates receptor binding and viral entry. In addition to TTSPs, ACE2 can also be trimmed by ADAM 17 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17) that competes for the same receptor. Cleavage by TTSPs activates ACE2 receptor for binding, whereas ADAM17 releases extracellular fragment called soluble ACE2 (sACE2). Structural studies of both ACE2 and S-protein have found critical sites involved in binding mechanism. In addition to studies on structural motifs, few single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) studies have been done to find an association between genetic variants and SARS susceptibility. Though no association was found in those reports, but seeing the non-reproducibility of SNP studies among different ethnic groups, screening of ACE2 SNPs in individual population can be undertaken. <h4>Short conclusion</h4> Thus, screening for novel SNPs focussing on recently identified critical regions of ACE2 can be targeted to monitor susceptibility towards coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Project description:Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is currently the most concerning health problem worldwide. SARS-CoV-2 infects cells by binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). It is believed that the differential response to SARS-CoV-2 is correlated with the differential expression of ACE2. Several reports proposed the use of ACE2 pharmacological inhibitors and ACE2 antibodies to block viral entry. However, ACE2 inhibition is associated with lung and cardiovascular pathology and would probably increase the pathogenesis of COVID-19. Therefore, utilizing ACE2 soluble analogs to block viral entry while rescuing ACE2 activity has been proposed. Despite their protective effects, such analogs can form a circulating reservoir of the virus, thus accelerating its spread in the body. Levels of ACE2 are reduced following viral infection, possibly due to increased viral entry and lysis of ACE2 positive cells. Downregulation of ACE2/Ang (1-7) axis is associated with Ang II upregulation. Of note, while Ang (1-7) exerts protective effects on the lung and cardiovasculature, Ang II elicits pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic detrimental effects by binding to the angiotensin type 1 receptor (AT1R). Indeed, AT1R blockers (ARBs) can alleviate the harmful effects associated with Ang II upregulation while increasing ACE2 expression and thus the risk of viral infection. Therefore, Ang (1-7) agonists seem to be a better treatment option. Another approach is the transfusion of convalescent plasma from recovered patients with deteriorated symptoms. Indeed, this appears to be promising due to the neutralizing capacity of anti-COVID-19 antibodies. In light of these considerations, we encourage the adoption of Ang (1-7) agonists and convalescent plasma conjugated therapy for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. This therapeutic regimen is expected to be a safer choice since it possesses the proven ability to neutralize the virus while ensuring lung and cardiovascular protection through modulation of the inflammatory response.
Project description: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/AT<sub>1</sub> receptor axis towards a protective ACE2/Ang (1-7)/Mas receptor axis.
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.
Project description:Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) is an 805 amino acid protein encoded by the ACE2 gene expressed in various human cells, especially in those located in the epithelia. The primary function of ACE2 is to produce angiotensin (1-7) from angiotensin II (Ang II). The current research has described the importance of ACE2 and Ang (1-7) in alternative routes of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) that promote the downregulation of fibrosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress processes in a great variety of diseases, such as hypertension, acute lung injury, liver cirrhosis, and kidney abnormalities. Investigations into the recent outbreak of the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have revealed the importance of ACE2 during infection and its role in recognizing viral binding proteins through interactions with specific amino acids of this enzyme. Additionally, the ACE2 expression in several organs has allowed us to understand the clinical picture related to the infection caused by SARS-CoV-2. This review aims to provide context for the functions and importance of ACE2 with regards to SARS-CoV-2 in the general clinical aspect and its impact on other diseases, especially respiratory diseases.
Project description:The renin-angiotensin system is mainly associated with the regulation of blood pressure, but recently many other functions of this system have been described. ACE2, an 805-amino acid monocarboxypeptidase type I transmembrane glycoprotein, was discovered in 2000 and has sequence similarity to two other proteins, namely ACE and collectrin. The ACE2 gene is located on Xp22 and is highly polymorphic. ACE2 is expressed in numerous tissues especially the lung alveolar epithelial cells, heart, kidney and gastrointestinal tract. Animal studies have found that ACE2 is central in diseases affecting almost all organ systems, among other cardiac, respiratory, renal and endocrine functions. ACE2 was identified as the cellular contact point for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of the global pandemic (COVID-19), and is a potential drug target. SARS-CoV-2 infection has several effects on the renin-angiotensin system and conversely, regulation of this receptor may affect the progress of infection. We describe the genetics and functions of ACE2, explore its various physiological functions in the renin-angiotensin system and discuss its role in the pathophysiology of disease. ACE2 opposes the vasopressor ACE pathway of the renin-angiotensin system by converting angiotensin (Ang) I to Ang (1-9) and Ang II to Ang (1-7) which initiates the vasodilatory pathway. ACE2 may have a protective effect in the lung and kidney as knockout mice display susceptibility to acute respiratory distress and hypertensive nephropathy. Binding of SARS-CoV-2 and the subsequent fusion and downregulation of this pathway during SARS-CoV-2 infection may explain some of the unusual sequelae seen in COVID-19.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) employs angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as its receptor for cell entrance, and studies have suggested that upon viral binding, ACE2 catalytic activity could be inhibited; therefore, impacting the regulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). To date, only few studies have evaluated the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the blood levels of the components of the RAAS. The objective of this study was to determine the blood levels of ACE, ACE2, angiotensin-II, angiotensin (1-7), and angiotensin (1-9) at hospital admission and discharge in a group of patients presenting with severe or critical evolution of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We showed that ACE, ACE2, angiotensin (1-7), and angiotensin (1-9) were similar in patients with critical and severe COVID-19. However, at admission, angiotensin-II levels were significantly higher in patients presenting as critical, compared to patients presenting with severe COVID-19. We conclude that blood levels of angiotensin-II are increased in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 presenting the critical outcome of the disease. We propose that early measurement of Ang-II could be a useful biomarker for identifying patients at higher risk for extremely severe progression of the disease.
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:The emergency of SARS-CoV-2 in China started a novel challenge to the scientific community. As the virus turns pandemic, scientists try to map the cellular mechanisms and pathways of SARS-CoV-2 related to the pathogenesis of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19). After transmembrane angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has been found to be SARS-CoV-2 receptor, we hypothesized an immune-hematological mechanism for Covid-19 based on renin-angiotensin system (RAS) imbalance to explain clinical, laboratory and imaging findings on disease course. We believe that exaggerated activation of ACE/Angiotensin II (Ang II)/Angiotensin Type 1 (AT1) receptor RAS axis in line with reduction of ACE2/Angiotensin-(1-7)/Mas receptor may exert a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of Covid-19. In this perspective, we discuss potential mechanisms and evidence on this hypothesis.