Apelin and ACE2 in cardiovascular disease

Curr Opin Investig Drugs. 2010 Mar;11(3):273-82.


Apelin is a peptide that has been identified as the endogenous ligand for the receptor APJ. The apelin/APJ system may be an important factor in the regulation of vascular tone and cardiovascular function. Studies on cultured cells and small animal models have revealed that apelin and APJ are localized in cardiomyocytes and vascular cells. The infusion of apelin affects vascular tone and blood pressure, with both central and peripheral actions. In clinical conditions such as heart failure and atherosclerosis, the gene expression of APJ and apelin, as well as the levels of circulating apelin, may be altered. The only known active homolog of ACE, ACE2, hydrolyzes apelin with similar potency to angiotensin II and, therefore, is responsible for the degradation of both peptides. Emerging data on a potential interaction between the two pathways suggest that the function of apelin/APJ in the vasculature may be relevant to cardiovascular disease, and identifying how this system is regulated could be useful clinically.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Animals
  • Apelin
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / blood
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / metabolism*


  • APLN protein, human
  • Adipokines
  • Apelin
  • Apln protein, mouse
  • Apln protein, rat
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Ace2 protein, mouse
  • Ace2 protein, rat
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2