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.
An Ace in the Hole for Treating Diabetes, University of Alberta, May 16, 2012
Loss of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme-2 Exacerbates Diabetic Cardiovascular Complications and Leads to Systolic and Vascular Dysfunction, Circulation Research, April 3, 2012