Plasma and tissue angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 activity and plasma equilibrium concentrations of angiotensin peptides in dogs with heart disease

J Vet Intern Med. 2019 Jul;33(4):1571-1584. doi: 10.1111/jvim.15548. Epub 2019 Jun 28.


Background: Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a homologue of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and produces angiotensin peptides (APs), such as angiotensin 1-9 and 1-7 that are vasodilatory and natriuretic, and act to counterbalance angiotensin II.

Hypothesis: Evidence of ACE2 can be found in tissues and plasma of dogs. Equilibrium concentrations of renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) APs differ in dogs with heart disease compared to healthy dogs and recombinant human ACE2 (rhACE2) alters relative concentrations of APs.

Animals: Forty-nine dogs with and 34 dogs without heart disease.

Methods: Immunohistochemistry and assays for tissue and plasma ACE2 activity and equilibrium concentrations of plasma RAAS APs were performed.

Results: Immunolabeling for ACE2 was present in kidney and myocardial tissue. Median plasma ACE2 activity was significantly increased in dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF; 6.9 mU/mg; interquartile range [IQR], 5.1-12.1) as compared to control (2.2 mU/mg; IQR, 1.8-3.0; P = .0003). Plasma equilibrium analysis of RAAS APs identified significant increases in the median concentrations of beneficial APs, such as angiotensin 1-7, in dogs with CHF (486.7 pg/mL; IQR, 214.2-1168) as compared to those with preclinical disease (41.0 pg/mL; IQR, 27.4-45.1; P < .0001) or control (11.4 pg/mL; IQR, 7.1-25.3; P = .01). Incubation of plasma samples from dogs with CHF with rhACE2 increased beneficial APs, such as angiotensin 1-9 (preincubation, 10.3 pg/mL; IQR, 4.4-37.2; postincubation, 2431 pg/mL; IQR, 1355-3037; P = .02), while simultaneously decreasing maladaptive APs, such as angiotensin II (preincubation, 53.4 pg/mL; IQR, 28.6-226.4; postincubation, 2.4 pg/mL; IQR, 0.50-5.8; P = .02).

Conclusions and clinical importance: Recognition of the ACE2 system expands the conventional view of the RAAS in the dog and represents an important potential therapeutic target.

Keywords: angiotensin 1-7; angiotensin II; degenerative mitral valve disease; renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Angiotensins / blood*
  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / blood
  • Heart Diseases / enzymology
  • Heart Diseases / veterinary*
  • Heart Failure / blood
  • Heart Failure / enzymology
  • Heart Failure / veterinary
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kidney / enzymology
  • Male
  • Myocardium / enzymology
  • Peptides / blood
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / analysis
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / blood*
  • Renin-Angiotensin System


  • Angiotensins
  • Peptides
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2