Expression of the SARS-CoV-2 cell receptor gene ACE2 in a wide variety of human tissues

Infectious Diseases of Poverty
Meng-Yuan LiXiao-Sheng Wang


Since its discovery in December 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected more than 2 180 000 people worldwide and has caused more than 150 000 deaths as of April 16, 2020. SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), uses the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a cell receptor to invade human cells. Thus, ACE2 is the key to understanding the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 infection. This study is to investigate the ACE2 expression in various human tissues in order to provide insights into the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We compared ACE2 expression levels across 31 normal human tissues between males and females and between younger (ages ≤ 49 years) and older (ages > 49 years) persons using two-sided Student's t test. We also investigated the correlations between ACE2 expression and immune signatures in various tissues using Pearson's correlation test. ACE2 expression levels were the highest in the small intestine, testis, kidneys, heart, thyroid, and adipose tissue, and were the lowest in the blood, spleen, bone marrow, brain, blood vessels, and muscle. ACE2 showed medium expression levels in the lungs, colon, liver, bladder, and adrenal gland. ACE2 was ...Continue Reading


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