Abstract

The renin–angiotensin system (RAS) has currently attracted increasing attention due to its potential function in regulating energy homeostasis, other than the actions on cellular growth, blood pressure, fluid, and electrolyte balance. The existence of RAS is well established in metabolic organs, including pancreas, liver, skeletal muscle, and adipose tissue, where activation of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) – angiotensin II pathway contributes to the impairment of insulin secretion, glucose transport, fat distribution, and adipokines production. However, the activation of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) – angiotensin (1–7) pathway, a novel branch of the RAS, plays an opposite role in the ACE pathway, which could reverse these consequences by improving local microcirculation, inflammation, stress state, structure remolding, and insulin signaling pathway. In addition, new studies indicate the protective RAS arm possesses extraordinary ability to enhance brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity and induces browning of white adipose tissue, and consequently, it leads to increased energy expenditure in the form of heat instead of ATP synthesis. Interestingly, ACE2 is the receptor of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is threating public health worldwide. The main complications of SARS-CoV-2 infected death patients include many energy metabolism-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes. The specific mechanism leading to this phenomenon is largely unknown. Here, we summarize the latest pharmacological and genetic tools on regulating ACE/ACE2 balance and highlight the beneficial effects of the ACE2 pathway axis hyperactivity on glycolipid metabolism, as well as the thermogenic modulation.

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