Organ-specific distribution of ACE2 mRNA and correlating peptidase activity in rodents

Florian GembardtThomas Walther


Biochemical analysis revealed that angiotensin-converting enzyme related carboxy-peptidase (ACE2) cleaves angiotensin (Ang) II to Ang-(1-7), a heptapeptide identified as an endogenous ligand for the G protein-coupled receptor Mas. No data are currently available that systematically describe ACE2 distribution and activity in rodents. Therefore, we analyzed the ACE2 expression in different tissues of mice and rats on mRNA (RNase protection assay) and protein levels (immunohistochemistry, ACE2 activity, western blot). Although ACE2 mRNA in both investigated species showed the highest expression in the ileum, the mouse organ exceeded rat ACE2, as also demonstrated in the kidney and colon. Corresponding to mRNA, ACE2 activity was highest in the ileum and mouse kidney but weak in the rat kidney, which was also confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Contrary to mRNA, we found weak activity in the lung of both species. Our data demonstrate a tissue- and species-specific pattern for ACE2 under physiological conditions.


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