Attenuation of pulmonary ACE2 activity impairs inactivation of des-arg9 bradykinin/BKB1R axis and facilitates LPS-induced neutrophil infiltration

Chhinder P. Sodhi, Christine Wohlford-Lenane, Yukihiro Yamaguchi, Thomas Prindle, William B. Fulton, Sanxia Wang, Paul B. McCray, Mark Chappell, David J. Hackam, Hongpeng Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a terminal carboxypeptidase with important functions in the renin-angiotensin system and plays a critical role in inflammatory lung diseases. ACE2 cleaves single-terminal residues from several bioactive peptides such as angiotensin II. However, few of its substrates in the respiratory tract have been identified, and the mechanism underlying the role of ACE2 in inflammatory lung disease has not been fully characterized. In an effort to identify biological targets of ACE2 in the lung, we tested its effects on des-Arg9 bradykinin (DABK) in airway epithelial cells on the basis of the hypothesis that DABK is a biological substrate of ACE2 in the lung and ACE2 plays an important role in the pathogenesis of acute lung inflammation partly through modulating DABK/bradykinin receptor B1 (BKB1R) axis signaling. We found that loss of ACE2 function in mouse lung in the setting of endotoxin inhalation led to activation of the DABK/BKB1R axis, release of proinflammatory chemokines such as C-X-C motif chemokine 5 (CXCL5), macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP2), C-X-C motif chemokine 1 (KC), and TNF-α from airway epithelia, increased neutrophil infiltration, and exaggerated lung inflammation and injury. These results indicate that a reduction in pulmonary ACE2 activity contributes to the pathogenesis of lung inflammation, in part because of an impaired ability to inhibit DABK/BKB1R axis-mediated signaling, resulting in more prompt onset of neutrophil infiltration and more severe inflammation in the lung. Our study identifies a biological substrate of ACE2 within the airways, as well as a potential new therapeutic target for inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L17-L31
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2
  • Bradykinin receptor B1
  • C-X-C motif chemokine 5
  • Endotoxin
  • Lung inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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