Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 is a key modulator of the renin-angiotensin system in cardiovascular and renal disease

Chris Tikellis, Stella Bernardi, Wendy C. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review: Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has recently emerged as a key regulator of the renin-angiotensin system in both health and disease. Recent findings: ACE2 deficiency is associated with elevated tissue and circulating levels of angiotensin II and reduced levels of angiotensin 1-7. Phenotypically, this results in a modest elevation in systolic blood pressure and left ventricular hypertrophy. In atherosclerosisprone apolipoprotein E knockout mice, ACE2 deficiency results in augmented vascular inflammation and an inflammatory response that contributes to increased atherosclerotic plaque formation. In the kidney, ACE2 deficiency is associated with progressive glomerulosclerosis. Interventions such as ACE2 replenishment or augmentation of its actions have proven successful in reducing hypertension, plaque accumulation, and renal and cardiac damage in a range of different models. Although promising, the balance of the renin-angiotensin system remains complicated, with some evidence that overexpression of ACE2 may have adverse cardiac effects, and ACE2 and its metabolic products may promote epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Summary: Repletion of ACE2's activities offers a new strategy to complement current clinical interventions in treating hypertension, renal and cardiovascular disease. In particular conditions where ACE inhibition and angiotensin receptor blockade are partially effective, the adjunctive actions of ACE2 may not only reduce clinical escape but also augment the efficacy of interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiotensin
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Hypertension
  • Reninangiotensin system

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