A Dual-Route Perspective of SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Lung- vs. Gut-specific Effects of ACE-2 Deficiency.

Frontiers in Pharmacology
Elizabeth M Sajdel-Sulkowska


SARS-CoV-2, primarily considered a respiratory virus, is increasingly recognized as having gastrointestinal aspects based on its presence in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and feces. SARS-CoV-2 uses as a receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2), a critical member of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) involved in the regulation of blood pressure and fluid system. In addition to the systemic endocrine functions, RAAS components are also involved in intracrine and organ-specific local functions. The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) is a key component of RAAS and a receptor for SARS-CoV-2. It is expressed in many tissues with gastrointestinal (GI) tract ACE-2 levels far exceeding those in the respiratory tract. SARS-CoV-2 binding to its receptor results in a deficiency of ACE-2 activity in endocrine, intracrine, and local lung and GI tract ACE-2. The local ACE-2 has different organ-specific functions, including hypertension-independent activities; dysregulations of these functions may contribute to multiorgan COVID-19 pathology, its severity, long-term effects, and mortality. We review supporting evidence from this standpoint. Notably, COVID-19 comorbidities involving hypertension, obesity, heart diseas...Continue Reading


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