A high concentration of ACE2 in the blood may increase the risk of severe COVID-19

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Normally, the enzyme ACE2 helps regulate blood pressure. The enzyme settles on the surface of cells, including lung cells, but in relation to COVID-19 it has been shown that ACE2 also functions as a gateway for the virus.

“Different viruses have different ways of accessing our cells, as the virus, of course, must enter the cell in order to replicate and the coronavirus uses ACE2 to access it. for this reason, we are investigating what the concentration of ACE2 means for the course of the disease, if you have COVID-19, ”explains MD and Ph.D. Tuesday Wenzel Kragstrup, from the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University. Preliminary results have just been published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

As mentioned, ACE2 is part of the surface of cells, but ACE2 can also be cut and found in the blood, and measurements show that we have very different concentrations in the blood.

With the help of comprehensive data from patients treated at Massachusetts General Hospital, Tue Wenzel Kragstrup and colleagues are trying to find out if ACE2 concentration can perhaps be used as a biomarker to predict the risk of dying as a patient. result of COVID-19.

“That’s the fundamental question,” says Tue Wenzel Kragstrup, though he also acknowledges that it still can’t be answered, among other things, because we currently lack an easily accessible and applicable test for ACE2.

However, this is not the case for another , ACE1. Here is a standard and commonly used test for when doctors, for example, need to diagnose sarcoidosis from lung disease.

“We know there is a correlation between ACE1 and ACE2,” says Tue Wenzel Kragstrup. “If our findings can be recreated by measuring ACE1, it can be used immediately in clinical work.”

Wenzel Kragstrup’s normal area of ​​research on Tuesday is biomarkers and rheumatic diseases, but when everything closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he felt compelled to use his knowledge of biomarkers in particular and, from this way, join the fight against the new disease. .

“I found out that Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA, had posted a lot of data and analysis on its website of 306 patients with COVID-19, along with data and analysis from 78 patients who had tested negative for COVID -19 the information is encrypted so that it is not possible to identify individuals, but the cohort of patients was followed for 28 days, so you can see what happened to them, “says Tue Wenzel Kragstrup, fascinated by the collaboration. in the fight against COVID -19.

He retrieved the data set in the form of a “really huge spreadsheet” and then, with the help of biostatisticians and other experts, began analyzing the large amount of data, and it was here that he realized of the important role that ACE2 appears to play. .

“We know a high concentration of ACE2 in relation to cardiovascular disease, but the concentration is not, for example, higher in relation to diabetes, which we can also see in our study. But now we hope that ACE2 can help explain the excess mortality from COVID-19, ”says Tue Wenzel Kragstrup.


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More information:
On Tuesday W. Kragstrup et al, Plasma ACE2 predicts COVID-19 outcome in hospitalized patients, PLOS ONE (2021). DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0252799

Citation: High Blood ACE2 Concentration May Increase Risk of Severe COVID-19 (2021, June 7) Recovered on June 7, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-high- ace2-blood-covid -.html

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