Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 Decreases Formation and Severity of Angiotensin II–Induced Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
Objective—Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) cleaves angiotensin II (AngII) to form angiotensin-(1–7) (Ang-(1–7)), which generally opposes effects of AngII. AngII infusion into hypercholesterolemic male mice induces formation of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). This study tests the hypothesis that deficiency of ACE2 promotes AngII-induced AAAs, whereas ACE2 activation suppresses aneurysm formation.
Approach and Results—ACE2 protein was detectable by immunostaining in mice and human AAAs. Whole-body deficiency of ACE2 significantly increased aortic lumen diameters and external diameters of suprarenal aortas from AngII-infused mice. Conversely, ACE2 deficiency in bone marrow–derived cells had no effect on AngII-induced AAAs. In contrast to AngII-induced AAAs, ACE2 deficiency had no significant effect on external aortic diameters of elastase-induced AAAs. Because ACE2 deficiency promoted AAA formation in AngII-infused mice, we determined whether ACE2 activation suppressed AAAs. ACE2 activation by administration of diminazene aceturate (30 mg/kg per day) to Ldlr-/- mice increased kidney ACE2 mRNA abundance and activity and elevated plasma Ang-(1–7) concentrations. Unexpectedly, administration of diminazene aceturate significantly reduced total sera cholesterol and very low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol concentrations. Notably, diminazene aceturate significantly decreased aortic lumen diameters and aortic external diameters of AngII-infused mice resulting in a marked reduction in AAA incidence (from 73% to 29%). None of these effects of diminazene aceturate were observed in the Ace2-/y mice.
Conclusions—These results demonstrate that ACE2 exerts a modulatory role in AngII-induced AAA formation, and that therapeutic stimulation of ACE2 could be a benefit to reduce AAA expansion and rupture in patients with an activated renin–angiotensin system.
- Received July 5, 2013.
- Accepted September 29, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.