A team of researchers from University of Alberta and University of Florida have shown that angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 or ACE2 can protect against diabetic complications, specifically heart damage, in diabetic mice. Their previous research demonstrated that ACE2 protects the kidneys as well. ACE2 protects by breaking down Angiotensin II, a hormone which contributes to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In the latest study, diabetic mice without ACE2 experienced heart and vascular dysfunction.
The research team plans to study Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics to assess their blood levels of ACE2 and determine whether its protective benefits hold true for humans. Lead researcher, Dr. Gavin Oudit, is currently testing a genetically engineered version of ACE2, which he developed in the hopes of preventing diabetic complications of the kidneys, eyes and heart.
Loss of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme-2 Exacerbates Diabetic Cardiovascular Complications and Leads to Systolic and Vascular Dysfunction, Circulation Research, April 3, 2012