Plasma ACE2 predicts outcome of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients

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Aims Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) binds to angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) enabling entrance of the virus into cells and causing the infection termed coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19). Here, we investigate associations between plasma ACE2 and outcome of COVID-19. Methods and results This analysis used data from a large longitudinal study of 306 COVID-19 positive patients and 78 COVID-19 negative patients (MGH Emergency Department COVID-19 Cohort). Comprehensive clinical data were collected on this cohort, including 28-day outcomes. The samples were run on the Olink® Explore 1536 platform which includes measurement of the ACE2 protein. High admission plasma ACE2 in COVID-19 patients was associated with increased maximal illness severity within 28 days with OR = 1.8, 95%-CI: 1.4–2.3 (P < 0.0001). Plasma ACE2 was significantly higher in COVID-19 patients with hypertension compared with patients without hypertension (P = 0.0045). Circulating ACE2 was also significantly higher in COVID-19 patients with pre-existing heart conditions and kidney disease compared with patients without these pre-existing conditions (P = 0.0363 and P = 0.0303, respectively). Conclusion This study suggests that measuring plasma ACE2 is potentially valuable in predicting COVID-19 outcomes. Further, ACE2 could be a link between COVID-19 illness severity and its established risk factors hypertension, pre-existing heart disease and pre-existing kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0252799
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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© 2021 Kragstrup et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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