A Brief Review of Interplay Between Vitamin D and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2: Implications for a Potential Treatment for COVID-19

Rev Med Virol. 2020 Jun 25. doi: 10.1002/rmv.2119. Online ahead of print.


The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is rapidly expanding and causing many deaths all over the world with the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring a pandemic in March 2020. Current therapeutic options are limited and there is no registered and/or definite treatment or vaccine for this disease or the causative infection, severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 syndrome (SARS-CoV-2). Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a part of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), serves as the major entry point into cells for SARS-CoV-2 which attaches to human ACE2, thereby reducing the expression of ACE2 and causing lung injury and pneumonia. Vitamin D, a fat-soluble-vitamin, is a negative endocrine RAS modulator and inhibits renin expression and generation. It can induce ACE2/Ang-(1-7)/MasR axis activity and inhibits renin and the ACE/Ang II/AT1R axis, thereby increasing expression and concentration of ACE2, MasR and Ang-(1-7) and having a potential protective role against acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Therefore, targeting the unbalanced RAS and ACE2 down-regulation with vitamin D in SARS-CoV-2 infection is a potential therapeutic approach to combat COVID-19 and induced ARDS.

Keywords: COVID-19; angiotensin-converting enzyme 2; vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review