ACE2 (angiotensin converting enzyme 2) is a protein that is found in various tissues throughout the human body, including the lungs, heart, kidneys, and intestines. It plays a crucial role in the regulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), which is a hormonal system that helps to regulate blood pressure and fluid balance.
One of the key functions of ACE2 is to convert angiotensin II (a hormone that can cause blood vessels to narrow) into angiotensin 1-7 (a hormone that can cause blood vessels to dilate), which helps to regulate blood pressure and prevent hypertension. ACE2 also plays a role in regulating inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
In recent years, ACE2 has gained significant attention due to its role in the COVID-19 pandemic. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, enters human cells by binding to ACE2 receptors on the surface of cells in the respiratory system, among other areas. This has led to research into the potential use of ACE2 inhibitors as a treatment for COVID-19, as well as concerns about the potential impact of ACE2 inhibition on cardiovascular health.
ACE2 is also being studied for its potential role in the treatment of other diseases, such as hypertension, heart failure, and kidney disease. Some researchers are exploring the use of ACE2 gene therapy as a potential treatment for these conditions, although more research is needed to fully understand the safety and efficacy of this approach.
Overall, ACE2 is a critical protein with important functions in the regulation of blood pressure, inflammation, and oxidative stress in the body. Its role in COVID-19 has highlighted the need for continued research into the potential therapeutic uses of ACE2 inhibitors, as well as the potential impact of ACE2 inhibition on cardiovascular health.