Plasma Angiotensin II Is Increased in Critical Coronavirus Disease 2019.
ABSTRACT: 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:Since December 2019, the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has rapidly spread and overwhelmed healthcare systems worldwide, urging physicians to understand how to manage this novel infection. Early in the pandemic, more severe forms of COVID-19 have been observed in patients with cardiovascular comorbidities, who are often treated with renin-angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS)-blockers, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), but whether these are indeed independent risk factors is unknown. The cellular receptor for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the membrane-bound angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), as for SARS-CoV(-1). Experimental data suggest that expression of ACE2 may be increased by RAAS-blockers, raising concerns that these drugs may facilitate viral cell entry. On the other hand, ACE2 is a key counter-regulator of the RAAS, by degrading angiotensin II into angiotensin (1-7), and may thereby mediate beneficial effects in COVID-19. These considerations have raised concerns about the management of these drugs, and early comments shed vivid controversy among physicians. This review will describe the homeostatic balance between ACE-angiotensin II and ACE2-angiotensin (1-7) and summarize the pathophysiological rationale underlying the debated role of the RAAS and its modulators in the context of the pandemic. In addition, we will review available evidence investigating the impact of RAAS blockers on the course and prognosis of COVID-19 and discuss why retrospective observational studies should be interpreted with caution. These considerations highlight the importance of solid evidence-based data in order to guide physicians in the management of RAAS-interfering drugs in the general population as well as in patients with more or less severe forms of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Project description:The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is caused by a newly emerged coronavirus (CoV) called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) comorbidities have significantly increased morbidity and mortality. The use of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor type 1 blockers (ARBs) improve CVD outcomes; however, there is concern that they may worsen the prognosis of CVD patients that become infected with SARS-CoV-2 because the virus uses the ACE2 receptor to bind to and subsequently infect host cells. Thus, some health care providers and media sources have questioned the continued use of ACE inhibitors and ARBs. In this brief review, we discuss the effect of ACE inhibitor-induced bradykinin on the cardiovascular system, on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) regulation in COVID-19 patients, and analyze recent clinical studies regarding patients treated with RAAS inhibitors. We propose that the application of RAAS inhibitors for COVID-19 patients with CVDs may be beneficial rather than harmful.
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:COVID-19 outbreak, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 coronavirus has become an urgent health and economic challenge. Diabetes is a risk factor for severity and mortality of COVID-19. Recent studies support that COVID-19 has effects beyond the respiratory tract, with vascular complications arising as relevant factors worsening its prognosis, then making patients with previous vascular disease more prone to severity or fatal outcome. Angiotensin-II converting enzime-2 (ACE2) has been proposed as preferred receptor for SARS-CoV-2 host infection, yet specific proteins participating in the virus entry are not fully known. SARS-CoV-2 might use other co-receptor or auxiliary proteins allowing virus infection. In silico experiments proposed that SARS-CoV-2 might bind dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4/CD26), which was established previously as receptor for MERS-CoV. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) component ACE2 and DPP4 are proteins dysregulated in diabetes. Imbalance of the RAAS and direct effect of soluble DPP4 exert deleterious vascular effects. We hypothesize that diabetic patients might be more affected by COVID-19 due to increased presence ACE2 and DPP4 mediating infection and contributing to a compromised vasculature. Here, we discuss the role of ACE2 and DPP4 as relevant factors linking the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity of COVID-19 in diabetic patients and present an outlook on therapeutic potential of current drugs targeted against RAAS and DPP4 to treat or prevent COVID-19-derived vascular complications. Diabetes affects more than 400 million people worldwide, thus better understanding of how they are affected by COVID-19 holds an important benefit to fight against this disease with pandemic proportions.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), a metabolic cascade regulating pressure and circulating blood volume, has been considered the main system involved in the pathogenesis of severe lung injury and organs decline in COVID-19 patients. The angiotensin I-converting enzyme (<i>ACE1</i>), angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (<i>ACE2</i>), angiotensinogen (AGT) and receptors angiotensin II receptor type 1 (<i>AGTR1</i>) are key factors for SARS-CoV-2 entering in the cells, sodium and water retention with an increase blood pressure, promotion of fibrotic and inflammatory phenomena resulting in a cytokine storm.<h4>Methods</h4>In this pilot study, the frequencies of six polymorphisms in the <i>ACE1, ACE2, AGT</i> and <i>AGTR1</i> genes were analysed in symptomatic patients affected by COVID-19 and compared with the results obtained from asymptomatic subjects.<h4>Results</h4>Thus, we have identified that rs2074192 (<i>ACE2</i>), rs1799752 (<i>ACE1</i>) and rs699 (<i>AGT</i>) SNPs could potentially be a valuable tool for predicting the clinical outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. A genetic predisposition may be prospected for severe internal organ damages and poor prognosis in patients with COVID-19 disease, as observed in symptomatic vs asymptomatic.<h4>Conclusion</h4>This study provides evidence that analysis of RAAS polymorphisms could be considered the key point in understanding and predicting the SARS-CoV-2 course infection.
Project description:The novel SARS coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 pandemic may be particularly deleterious to patients with underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD). The mechanism for SARS-CoV-2 infection is the requisite binding of the virus to the membrane-bound form of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and internalization of the complex by the host cell. Recognition that ACE2 is the coreceptor for the coronavirus has prompted new therapeutic approaches to block the enzyme or reduce its expression to prevent the cellular entry and SARS-CoV-2 infection in tissues that express ACE2 including lung, heart, kidney, brain, and gut. ACE2, however, is a key enzymatic component of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS); ACE2 degrades ANG II, a peptide with multiple actions that promote CVD, and generates Ang-(1-7), which antagonizes the effects of ANG II. Moreover, experimental evidence suggests that RAAS blockade by ACE inhibitors, ANG II type 1 receptor antagonists, and mineralocorticoid antagonists, as well as statins, enhance ACE2 which, in part, contributes to the benefit of these regimens. In lieu of the fact that many older patients with hypertension or other CVDs are routinely treated with RAAS blockers and statins, new clinical concerns have developed regarding whether these patients are at greater risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection, whether RAAS and statin therapy should be discontinued, and the potential consequences of RAAS blockade to COVID-19-related pathologies such as acute and chronic respiratory disease. The current perspective critically examines the evidence for ACE2 regulation by RAAS blockade and statins, the cardiovascular benefits of ACE2, and whether ACE2 blockade is a viable approach to attenuate COVID-19.
Project description:The objective of this review is to give an overview of the pathophysiological effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in relation to hypertension (HT), with a focus on the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS) and the MAS receptor. HT is a multifactorial disease and a public health burden, as it is a risk factor for diseases like stroke, coronary artery disease, and heart failure, leading to 10.4 million deaths yearly. Blood pressure is regulated by the RAAS. The system consists of two counter-regulatory axes: ACE/ANG-II/AT<sub>1</sub> R and ACE2/ANG-(1-7)/MAS. The main regulatory protein in balancing the RAAS is angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The protein also functions as the main mediator of endocytosis of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into the host cell. SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of COVID-19 and has caused a worldwide pandemic; however, the treatment and prophylaxis of COVID-19 are limited. Several drugs and vaccines are currently being tested in clinical trials with a few already approved by EMA and FDA. HT is a major risk factor regarding the severity and fatality of COVID-19, and the RAAS plays an important role in COVID-19 infection since SARS-CoV-2 can lead to a dysregulation of the system by reducing the ACE2 expression. The exact mechanisms of HT in relation to COVID-19 remain uncertain, and more research is needed for further elucidation.
Project description:Background Renin-angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitor-COVID-19 studies, observational in design, appear to use biased methods that can distort the interaction between RAAS inhibitor use and COVID-19 risk. This study assessed the extent of bias in that research and reevaluated RAAS inhibitor-COVID-19 associations in studies without critical risk of bias. Methods and Results Searches were performed in MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL databases (December 1, 2019 to October 21, 2021) identifying studies that compared the risk of infection and/or severe COVID-19 outcomes between those using or not using RAAS inhibitors (ie, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II type-I receptor blockers). Weighted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% CIs were extracted and pooled in fixed-effects meta-analyses, only from studies without critical risk of bias that assessed severe COVID-19 outcomes. Of 169 relevant studies, 164 had critical risks of bias and were excluded. Ultimately, only two studies presented data relevant to the meta-analysis. In 1 351 633 people with uncomplicated hypertension using a RAAS inhibitor, calcium channel blocker, or thiazide diuretic in monotherapy, the risk of hospitalization (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor: HR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.66-0.87; <i>P</i><0.001; angiotensin II type-I receptor blockers: HR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.77-0.97; <i>P</i>=0.015) and intubation or death (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor: HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.48-0.85; <i>P</i>=0.002; angiotensin II type-I receptor blockers: HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.58-0.95; <i>P</i>=0.019) with COVID-19 was lower in those using a RAAS inhibitor. However, these protective effects are probably not clinically relevant. Conclusions This study reveals the critical risk of bias that exists across almost an entire body of COVID-19 research, raising an important question: Were research methods and/or peer-review processes temporarily weakened during the surge of COVID-19 research or is this lack of rigor a systemic problem that also exists outside pandemic-based research? Registration URL: www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/; Unique identifier: CRD42021237859.
Project description:People with underlying conditions, including hypertension, obesity, and diabetes, are especially susceptible to negative outcomes after infection with coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. Hypertension and respiratory inflammation are exacerbated by the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS), which normally protects from rapidly dropping blood pressure via Angiotensin II (Ang II) produced by the enzyme Ace. The Ace paralog Ace2 degrades Ang II, counteracting its chronic effects, and serves as the SARS-CoV-2 receptor. <i>Ace</i>, the coronavirus, and COVID-19 comorbidities all regulate <i>Ace2</i>, but we do not yet understand how. To exploit zebrafish (<i>Danio rerio</i>) to help understand the relationship of the RAAS to COVID-19, we must identify zebrafish orthologs and co-orthologs of human RAAS genes and understand their expression patterns. To achieve these goals, we conducted genomic and phylogenetic analyses and investigated single cell transcriptomes. Results showed that most human RAAS genes have one or more zebrafish orthologs or co-orthologs. Results identified a specific type of enterocyte as the specific site of expression of zebrafish orthologs of key RAAS components, including Ace, Ace2, Slc6a19 (SARS-CoV-2 co-receptor), and the Angiotensin-related peptide cleaving enzymes Anpep (receptor for the common cold coronavirus HCoV-229E), and Dpp4 (receptor for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus, MERS-CoV). Results identified specific vascular cell subtypes expressing Ang II receptors, <i>apelin</i>, and <i>apelin receptor</i> genes. These results identify genes and cell types to exploit zebrafish as a disease model for understanding mechanisms of COVID-19.
Project description:The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 walks the planet causing the rapid spread of the CoV disease 2019 (COVID-19) that has especially deleterious consequences for the patients with underlying cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Entry of the SARS-CoV-2 into the host cell involves interaction of the virus (via the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of its spike glycoprotein) with the membrane-bound form of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) followed by the virus-ACE2 complex internalization by the cell. Since ACE2 is expressed in various tissues, such as brain, gut, heart, kidney, and lung, and since these organs represent obvious targets for the SARS-CoV-2 infection, therapeutic approaches were developed to either inhibit ACE2 or reduce its expression as a means of prevention of the virus entry into the corresponding host cells. The problem here is that in addition to be a receptor for the SARS-CoV-2 entry into the host cells, ACE2 acts as a key component of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) aimed at the generation of a cascade of vasoactive peptides coordinating several physiological processes. In RAAS, ACE2 degrades angiotensin II, which is a multifunctional CVD-promoting peptide hormone and converts it to a heptapeptide angiotensin-(1-7) acting as the angiotensin II antagonist. As protein multifunctionality is commonly associated with the presence of flexible or disordered regions, we analyze here the intrinsic disorder predisposition of major players related to the SARS-CoV-2 - RAAS axis. We show that all considered proteins contain intrinsically disordered regions that might have specific functions. Since intrinsic disorder might play a role in the functionality of query proteins and be related to the COVID-19 pathogenesis, this work represents an important disorder-based outlook of an interplay between the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and SARS-CoV-2. It also suggests that consideration of the intrinsic disorder phenomenon should be added to the modern arsenal of means for drug development.