Effects of SARS-CoV-2 on Cardiovascular System: The Dual Role of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) as the Virus Receptor and Homeostasis Regulator-Review.

International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Aneta AleksovaFederico Ferro


Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the entry receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) in humans. ACE-2 is a type I transmembrane metallocarboxypeptidase expressed in vascular endothelial cells, alveolar type 2 lung epithelial cells, renal tubular epithelium, Leydig cells in testes and gastrointestinal tract. ACE2 mediates the interaction between host cells and SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein. However, ACE2 is not only a SARS-CoV-2 receptor, but it has also an important homeostatic function regulating renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which is pivotal for both the cardiovascular and immune systems. Therefore, ACE2 is the key link between SARS-CoV-2 infection, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and immune response. Susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 seems to be tightly associated with ACE2 availability, which in turn is determined by genetics, age, gender and comorbidities. Severe COVID-19 is due to an uncontrolled and excessive immune response, which leads to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multi-organ failure. In spite of a lower ACE2 expression on cells surface, patients with CVDs have a higher COVID-19 mortality rate, which is likely dri...Continue Reading


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