Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2: A new target for neurogenic hypertension

Cardiovascular Center of Excellence, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
Experimental physiology (Impact Factor: 2.67). 04/2010; 95(5):601 - 606. DOI: 10.1113/expphysiol.2009.047407


Overactivity of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) is involved in the pathogenesis of hypertension, and an overactive brain RAS has been highlighted in several genetic and experimental models. Until now, angiotensin II (Ang II) was thought to be the main effector of this system, and the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)–Ang II–Ang II type 1 receptor axis was the main target for antihypertensive therapies. A new member of the RAS, ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme type 2), has been identified in organs and tissues related to cardiovascular function (e.g. heart, kidney and blood vessels) and appears to be part of a counter-regulatory pathway to buffer the excess of Ang II. We recently identified the ACE2 protein in brain regions involved in the central regulation of blood pressure and showed that it regulates, and is regulated by, other components of the RAS. Here, we present evidence for the involvement of brain ACE2 in the central regulation of blood pressure, autonomic and cardiac function. We show that lack of ACE2 is deleterious for the central regulation of blood pressure and that brain ACE2 gene therapy can restore baroreflex and autonomic functions and prevent the development of hypertension. Additionally, and independently of a reduction in Ang II levels, we will highlight some of the mechanisms responsible for the beneficial effects of central ACE2 in cardiovascular function.

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Available from: Yumei Feng, Jan 05, 2015
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    • "The RAS plays a fundamental role in the regulation of BP and kidney and heart development. It is now well established that ACE2 adjusts AT2R and angiotensin (1–7) Mas as an endogenous counter-regulatory pathway within the RAS, opposing the development of hypertension [26]. Our data demonstrated that neonatal DEX-induced programmed hypertension, which is associated with decreased ACE2 expression in the kidney and heart. "
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    ABSTRACT: Adulthood hypertension can be programmed by corticosteroid exposure in early life. Oxidative stress, epigenetic regulation by histone deacetylases (HDACs), and alterations of renin-angiotensin system (RAS) are involved in the developmental programming of hypertension. We examined whether melatonin prevented neonatal dexamethasone (DEX)-induced programmed hypertension and how melatonin prevented these processes. We also examined whether HDAC inhibition by trichostatin A (TSA, a HDAC inhibitor) had similar effects. Male offspring were assigned to 5 groups (n=6/group): control, DEX, melatonin, DEX+melatonin, and DEX+TSA. Male rat pups were injected i.p. with DEX on day 1 (0.5mg/kg BW), day 2 (0.3mg/kg BW), and day 3 (0.1mg/kg BW) after birth. Melatonin was administered in drinking water at the dose of 0.01% during the lactation period. The DEX+TSA group received DEX and 0.5mg/kg TSA subcutaneous injection once daily for 1 week. All rats were killed at 16 weeks of age. Neonatal DEX exposure induced hypertension in male offspring at 16 weeks of age, which melatonin prevented. Neonatal DEX exposure decreased gene expression related to apoptosis, nephrogenesis, RAS, and sodium transporters. Yet DEX treatment increased protein levels of HDAC-1, -2, and -3 in the kidney. Melatonin therapy preserved the decreases of gene expression and decreased HDACs. Similarly, HDAC inhibition prevented DEX-induced programmed hypertension. In conclusion, melatonin therapy exerts a long-term protection against neonatal DEX-induced programmed hypertension. Its beneficial effects include alterations of RAS components and inhibition of class I HDACs. Given that the similar protective effects of melatonin and TSA, melatonin might inhibit HDACs to epigenetic regulation of hypertension-related genes to prevent programmed hypertension.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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    • "Renin-PRR signaling is essential for proper kidney development and is causally linked to hypertension [13]. ACE2 appears to antagonize the effects of ACE through the production of angiotensin (1–7) in a manner that opposes the development of hypertension [24]. Surprisingly, melatonin therapy increased ACE2 expression in the kidney and prevented CR-induced programmed hypertension, despite the presence of increased renin and PRR expression. "
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    ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO) deficiency is involved in the development of hypertension, a condition that can originate early in life. We examined whether NO deficiency contributed to programmed hypertension in offspring from mothers with calorie-restricted diets and whether melatonin therapy prevented this process. We examined 3-month-old male rat offspring from four maternal groups: untreated controls, 50% calorie-restricted (CR) rats, controls treated with melatonin (0.01% in drinking water), and CR rats treated with melatonin (CR + M). The effect of melatonin on nephrogenesis was analyzed using next-generation sequencing. The CR group developed hypertension associated with elevated plasma asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA, a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor), decreased L-arginine, decreased L-arginine-to-ADMA ratio (AAR), and decreased renal NO production. Maternal melatonin treatment prevented these effects. Melatonin prevented CR-induced renin and prorenin receptor expression. Renal angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 protein levels in the M and CR + M groups were also significantly increased by melatonin therapy. Maternal melatonin therapy had long-term epigenetic effects on global gene expression in the kidneys of offspring. Conclusively, we attributed these protective effects of melatonin on CR-induced programmed hypertension to the reduction of plasma ADMA, restoration of plasma AAR, increase of renal NO level, alteration of renin-angiotensin system, and epigenetic changes in numerous genes.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity
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    • "It is widely accepeted that antihypertensive therapy is important for prevention of stroke, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity [38]. Recently, several studies revealed that the brain ACE2-Ang-(1-7)-Mas axis acted as a pivotal regulator of blood pressure (BP), which counteracted the pressor effect of ACE-Ang II-AT1R in brain [4]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in brain is a crucial regulator for physiological homeostasis and diseases of cerebrovascular system, such as ischemic stroke. Overactivation of brain Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) - Angiotensin II (Ang II) - Angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) axis was found to be involved in the progress of hypertension, atherosclerosis and thrombogenesis, which increased the susceptibility to ischemic stroke. Besides, brain Ang II levels have been revealed to be increased in ischemic tissues after stroke, and contribute to neural damage through elevating oxidative stress levels and inducing inflammatory response in the ischemic hemisphere via AT1R. In recent years, new components of RAS have been discovered, including ACE2, Angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)] and Mas, which constitute ACE2-Ang-(1-7)-Mas axis. ACE2 converts Ang II to Ang-(1-7), and Ang-(1-7) binds with its receptor Mas, exerting benefical effects in cerebrovascular disease. Through interacting with nitric oxide and bradykinin, Ang-(1-7) could attenuate the development of hypertension and the pathologic progress of atherosclerosis. Besides, its antithrombotic activity also prevents thrombogenic events, which may contribute to reduce the risk of ischemic stroke. In addition, after ischemia insult, ACE2-Ang-(1-7)-Mas has been shown to reduce the cerebral infarct size and improve neurological deficits through its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects. Taken together, activation of the ACE2-Ang-(1-7)-Mas axis may become a novel therapeutic target in prevention and treatment of ischemia stroke, which deserves further investigations.
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