Aims: The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and its end product angiotensin 1-7 (Ang1-7) are key counterregulatory proteins to offset the deleterious effects of angiotensin II. ACE2 is decreased in diabetic kidney disease but overexpressed in metabolically active atheroma. We tested the hypothesis that ACE2 is increased in diabetic peripheral atheroma, concomitantly with Ang1-7, angiotensin II receptor 1 (AT1R), proinflammatory cytokines, macrophage infiltration, and plaque neovascularization. Methods and Results: Peripheral atherectomy plaques collected from 12 diabetic (DM) and 12 non-DM patients were immunostained for ACE2, Ang1-7, AT1R, and proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Macrophage infiltration and neovascularization were counted using double-label immunochemistry with CD68/CD3 and CD34, respectively. Quantification was performed blindly by randomly counting positively stained cells in 20 high-power fields using previously validated methods. Tissue content of ACE2, Ang1-7, and AT1R was increased in DM when compared to non-DM (P<.0001). IL-6 and TNF-α were also increased in DM when compared to non-DM (P<.0001), as well as macrophage infiltration score and neovessel counting (P<.0001). Conclusion: Expression of ACE2 and its end product Ang1-7 is increased in DM atheroma, along with overexpression of AT1R, IL6, TNF-α, macrophage infiltration, and neovascularization. These results suggest that the renin-angiotensin system counterregulatory pathway may be preserved in metabolically active atheroma, offering potential targets for future therapies in diabetic atherosclerosis.
- Diabetes mellitus
- Peripheral vascular disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine