Numerous studies have suggested that angiotensin peptides modulate the expression of angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2) in the cardiovascular system, but the molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. In the present study, human cardiac fibroblasts (HCF) were used to test the regulatory effects of angiotensin II (Ang II) and angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)] on ACE2 expression. The results show that Ang II upregulates ACE2 expression. This action is modulated through activation of Ang II type 1 receptor (AT1R). Ang II-mediated ACE2 upregulation was blocked by antagonists of AT1R and ERK-MAPK signaling pathways. Additionally, Ang-(1-7) increased ACE2 expression, and this upregulation was inhibited by Ang-(1-7) Mas receptor blockade. Our results further reveal that the activation of p-ERK1/2 proteins plays a critical role in upregulating ACE2 in Ang-(1-7)-stimulated HCF cells. This effect occurs independently of the Ang II-AT1R signaling pathway. In conclusion, we propose that Ang II-upregulated ACE2 may increase Ang-(1-7) formation from Ang II, and that ACE2 expression is further enhanced by Ang-(1-7) in a positive feedback loop.
- Angiotensin converting enzyme II
- Angiotensin II
- Human cardiofibroblasts