Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 and the kidney

David I. Ortiz-Melo, Susan B. Gurley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a monocarboxypeptidase that metabolizes angiotensin II (AngII). AngII levels can be modulated by ACE2 in tissues where the enzyme is highly expressed, such as the kidney. In the kidney, ACE2 has the potential to regulate the intrarenal renin-angiotensin system (RAS), which can impact blood pressure and renal injury. Thus, in disease states where the RAS is often upregulated, the function of ACE2 plays a particularly important role. This review highlights the results of recent studies that demonstrate the interplay between ACE2 and the kidney under normal and pathological conditions. Recent findings ACE2 has been reported to play a key role in renal and cardiovascular function. Recent studies have implicated shedding of the membrane-bound ectodomain of ACE2 as one way in which the enzyme can be regulated and enzymatic activity altered. This posttranslational modification releases a fragment which retains enzymatic activity, and thus provides a novel mechanism by which the RAS can be altered in response to physiological stimuli. Decreased ACE2 activity is associated with increased blood pressure, diabetes, and oxidative stress, whereas, increased levels of ACE2 appear to be renoprotective. Summary A growing body of evidence, involving both experimental and human studies, points out the crucial role that ACE2 plays on the modulation of renal injury. Thus, therapeutic targets aiming to increase ACE2 activity and the ACE2-Ang(1-7)-MasR axis could potentially become clinically relevant, especially in disease states where the renal RAS is upregulated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in nephrology and hypertension
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiotensin converting enzyme 2
  • angiotensin II
  • kidney
  • renin-angiotensin system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Nephrology


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