Expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptorACE2 in human heart is associated with uncontrolled diabetes, obesity, and activation of the renin angiotensin system.

Cardiovascular Diabetology
Michal Herman-EdelsteinDan Aravot


Diabetic and obese patients are at higher risk of severe disease and cardiac injury in corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections. Cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2 is mainly via the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which is highly expressed in normal hearts. There is a disagreement regarding the effect of factors such as obesity and diabetes on ACE2 expression in the human heart and whether treatment with renin-angiotensin system inhibitors or anti-diabetic medications increases ACE2 expression and subsequently the susceptibility to infection. We designed this study to elucidate factors that control ACE2 expression in human serum, human heart biopsies, and mice. Right atrial appendage biopsies were collected from 79 patients that underwent coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. We investigated the alteration in ACE2 mRNA and protein expression in heart tissue and serum. ACE2 expression was compared with clinical risk factors: diabetes, obesity and different anti-hypertensive or anti-diabetic therapies. WT or db/db mice were infused with Angiotensin II (ATII), treated with different anti-diabetic drugs (Metformin, GLP1A and SGLT2i) were also tested. ACE2 gene expression was increased in diabetic hearts compared to ...Continue Reading


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