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Endocrinology. 2007 May;148(5):2453-7. Epub 2007 Feb 15.

Synergistic expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and ACE2 in human renal tissue and confounding effects of hypertension on the ACE to ACE2 ratio.

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  • 1Third Department of Internal Medicine, Fukui University School of Medicine, 23-3, Shimoaizuki, Eiheiji, Fukui, 910-1193, Japan.


Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) 2, a newly emerging component of the renin-angiotensin system, is presumed to be a counterregulator against ACE in generating and degrading angiotensin II. It remains to be elucidated how mRNA levels of these two genes are quantitatively regulated in the kidney and also what kind of clinicopathological characteristics could influence the gene expressions in humans. Seventy-eight cases of biopsy-proven renal conditions were examined in detail. Total RNA from a small part of each renal cortical biopsy specimen was reverse transcribed, and the resultant cDNA was amplified for ACE, ACE2, and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase with a real-time PCR system. Then we investigated the relationship between clinicopathological variables and mRNA levels adjusted for glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. Statistically significant correlation was not observed between any clinicopathological variables and either of the gene expressions by pairwise comparison. However, a strong correlation was observed between the gene expressions of ACE and those of ACE2. Moreover, the ACE to ACE2 ratio was significantly higher in subjects with hypertension (HT) than that in subjects without HT. Whereas parameters of renal function, e.g. urinary protein excretion (UPE) and creatinine clearance (Ccr), are not significantly related to the ACE to ACE2 ratio as a whole, the HT status may reflect disease-induced deterioration of renal function. That is, UPE and Ccr of subjects with HT are significantly different from those without HT, in which a significant correlation is also observed between UPE and Ccr. Finally, stepwise regression analysis further revealed that only the HT status is an independent confounding determinant of the ACE to ACE2 ratio among the variables tested. Our data suggest that ACE2 might play an important role in maintaining a balanced status of local renin-angiotensin system synergistically with ACE by counterregulatory effects confounded by the presence of hypertension. Thus, ACE2 may exert pivotal effects on cardiovascular and renal conditions.

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