Apr 18, 2020

Regulation of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in obesity: implications for COVID-19

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
S. Al HeialyQutayba Alheialy


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Age, smoking, obesity, and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes have been described as risk factors for severe complications and mortality in COVID-19. Obesity and diabetes are usually associated with dysregulated lipid synthesis and clearance which can initiate or aggravate pulmonary inflammation and injury. It has been shown that for viral entry into the host cell, SARS-CoV-2 utilizes the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors present on the cells. We aimed to characterize how SARS-CoV-2 dysregulates lipid metabolism pathways in the host and the effect of dysregulated lipogenesis on the regulation of ACE2, specifically in obesity. In our study, through the re-analysis of publicly available transcriptomic data, we first found that lung epithelial cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 showed upregulation of genes associated with lipid metabolism, including the SOC3 gene which is involved in regulation of inflammation and inhibition of leptin signaling. This is of interest as viruses may hijack host lipid metabolism to allow completion of their viral replication cycles. Furthermore, a mouse model of diet-induced obesity showed...Continue Reading

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