Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 amplification limited to the circulation does not protect mice from development of diabetic nephropathy

Jan Wysocki, Minghao Ye, Ahmed M. Khattab, Agnes Fogo, Aline Martin, Nicolae Valentin David, Yashpal Kanwar, Mark Osborn, Daniel Batlle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Blockers of the renin-angiotensin system are effective in the treatment of experimental and clinical diabetic nephropathy. An approach different from blocking the formation or action of angiotensin II (1-8) that could also be effective involves fostering its degradation. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a monocarboxypeptidase that cleaves angiotensin II (1-8) to form angiotensin (1-7). Therefore, we examined the renal effects of murine recombinant ACE2 in mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetic nephropathy as well as that of amplification of circulating ACE2 using minicircle DNA delivery prior to induction of experimental diabetes. This delivery resulted in a long-term sustained and profound increase in serum ACE2 activity and enhanced ability to metabolize an acute angiotensin II (1-8) load. In mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes pretreated with minicircle ACE2, ACE2 protein in plasma increased markedly and this was associated with a more than 100-fold increase in serum ACE2 activity. However, minicircle ACE2 did not result in changes in urinary ACE2 activity as compared to untreated diabetic mice. In both diabetic groups, glomerular filtration rate increased significantly and to the same extent as compared to non-diabetic controls. Albuminuria, glomerular mesangial expansion, glomerular cellularity, and glomerular size were all increased to a similar extent in minicircle ACE2-treated and untreated diabetic mice, as compared to non-diabetic controls. Recombinant mouse ACE2 given for 4 weeks by intraperitoneal daily injections in mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetic nephropathy also failed to improve albuminuria or kidney pathology. Thus, a profound augmentation of ACE2 confined to the circulation failed to ameliorate the glomerular lesions and hyperfiltration characteristic of early diabetic nephropathy. These findings emphasize the importance of targeting the kidney rather than the circulatory renin angiotensin system to combat diabetic nephropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1336-1346
Number of pages11
JournalKidney international
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • angiotensin 1-7
  • angiotensin II
  • diabetic nephropathy
  • minicircle delivery
  • soluble ACE2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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