Increased expression of angiotensin converting enzyme 2 in conjunction with reduction of neointima by angiotensin II type 1 receptor blockade.Hypertens Res. 2008 Mar; 31(3):553-9.HR
Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a newly recognized homolog of ACE that converts angiotensin II (Ang II) to angiotensin-1-7 (Ang-(1-7)), is found in vascular smooth muscle cells. Expression of ACE2 may be a local determinant of vascular Ang-(1-7) production and, when increased, may augment the increasingly recognized protective effects of this peptide within injured tissues. We previously showed that treatment with the angiotensin II type 1 (AT1) receptor blocker (ARB) olmesartan increased aortic ACE2 and Ang-(1-7) in conjunction with improved vascular remodeling in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). In the present study, we investigated balloon injury-related ACE2 in the vasculature by determining the effect of sustained AT1 blockade on ACE2 protein expression in the carotid arteries of 12-week-old male SHR treated with either vehicle (n=5) or 10 mg/kg olmesartan (n=5) in drinking water for 14 days. Olmesartan treatment caused a 61% reduction in the cross-sectional area of the neointima, from 0.27+/-0.01 mm2 in vehicle-treated rats to 0.11+/-0.01 mm2 in olmesartan-treated rats. In contrast, olmesartan treatment had no effect on the medial area of injured or uninjured carotid arteries compared to that in vehicle-treated rats. Quantitative analysis of ACE2 immunostaining intensity in the carotid artery of SHR was significantly greater (p<0.05) in the neointima of olmesartan-treated SHR compared to that in vehicle-treated animals. In contrast, ACE2 immunostaining intensity was not quantitatively different in uninjured carotid arteries of olmesartan and vehicle-treated animals. These studies suggest that changes in ACE2 within the vascular system of SHR are regulated by a factor other than arterial pressure.