Role of ACE2 in pregnancy and potential implications for COVID-19 susceptibility.

Published on Aug 13, 2021in Clinical Science5.223
· DOI :10.1042/CS20210284
Nayara Azinheira Nobrega Cruz (UNIFESP: Federal University of São Paulo), Danielle Stoll1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UNIFESP: Federal University of São Paulo)
+ 1 AuthorsMariane Bertagnolli15
Estimated H-index: 15
(McGill University)
Sources
Abstract
In times of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-coronavirus (CoV)-2 infection on pregnancy is still unclear. The presence of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) 2 (ACE2), the main receptor for SARS-CoV-2, in human placentas indicates that this organ can be vulnerable for viral infection during pregnancy. However, for this to happen, additional molecular processes are critical to allow viral entry in cells, its replication and disease manifestation, particularly in the placenta and/or feto-maternal circulation. Beyond the risk of vertical transmission, COVID-19 is also proposed to deplete ACE2 protein and its biological actions in the placenta. It is postulated that such effects may impair essential processes during placentation and maternal hemodynamic adaptations in COVID-19 pregnancy, features also observed in several disorders of pregnancy. This review gathers information indicating risks and protective features related to ACE2 changes in COVID-19 pregnancies. First, we describe the mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection having ACE2 as a main entry door and current evidence of viral infection in the placenta. Further, we discuss the central role of ACE2 in physiological systems such as the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and the kallikrein-kinin system (KKS), both active during placentation and hemodynamic adaptations of pregnancy. Significant knowledge gaps are also identified and should be urgently filled to better understand the fate of ACE2 in COVID-19 pregnancies and the potential associated risks. Emerging knowledge will be able to improve the early stratification of high-risk pregnancies with COVID-19 exposure as well as to guide better management and follow-up of these mothers and their children.
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The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus SARS-COV-2 has cost many lives worldwide. In dealing with affected patients, the physician is faced with a very unusual pattern of organ damage that is not easily explained on the basis of prior knowledge of viral-induced pathogenesis. It is established that the main receptor for viral entry into tissues is the protein angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (“ACE-2”, 1). In a recent publication (2), a theory of autoimmunity against ACE-2, and/or against t...
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