Researchers discover surprising new roles for a key regulatory enzyme of blood pressure

September 8, 2012

At the 1st ECRC "Franz-Volhard" Symposium on September 7, 2012 at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin-Buch, Professor Ken Bernstein reported that in mice an excess of ACE led to a much stronger immune response than usual. In animal experiments, not only could bacterial infections be combated more effectively, but also the growth of aggressive skin cancer (melanoma) in mice could be contained by a stronger response of the immune system. In contrast, if the mice lacked ACE, the immune cells worked less effectively.

In addition, ACE apparently has an influence on blood formation. It has been known for many years that, in humans, induce a small reduction of red blood cell levels. To elucidate the exact roles of ACE, the Bernstein's research team deactivated the genes in mice that normally provide the blueprint for the enzyme. As a consequence, these so-called "knock out" mice could no longer produce the enzyme. The examination of these mice revealed that they in fact had significantly fewer . Also, the in these animals were less functional. According to the researchers' studies, ACE evidently plays a role in the development of the different blood cells.

Bernstein's team also showed that ACE apparently plays an important role in the development of the kidneys. In mice that could not produce the enzyme, the small arteries and the tissue of the kidneys revealed pathological changes, and the urine flow was impaired.

According to these findings, is also associated with ACE. Male mice lacking ACE continued to produce sperm, but they were no longer able to reproduce. However, if in the mice not the enzyme itself, but rather a product of ACE – namely the hormone angiotensin II – was suppressed, they could continue to reproduce. Until now it was thought that ACE mainly exerts its effect through the production of angiotensin II. These results show, however, that ACE is enzymatically active and produces other active products apart from angiotensin II, for example in the testes.

Explore further: Similar blood pressure drugs could have different impacts on dialysis patients' heart health

Related Stories

Similar blood pressure drugs could have different impacts on dialysis patients' heart health

December 8, 2011
Two seemingly similar blood pressure–lowering drugs have different effects on the heart health of dialysis patients, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology ...

Blood pressure drugs linked with lower PTSD symptoms

May 1, 2012
Traumatized people who take a class of common blood pressure medications tend to have less severe post-traumatic stress symptoms, researchers have found.

Recommended for you

Post-stroke patients reach terra firma with new exosuit technology

July 26, 2017
Upright walking on two legs is a defining trait in humans, enabling them to move very efficiently throughout their environment. This can all change in the blink of an eye when a stroke occurs. In about 80% of patients post-stroke, ...

Brain cells found to control aging

July 26, 2017
Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have found that stem cells in the brain's hypothalamus govern how fast aging occurs in the body. The finding, made in mice, could lead to new strategies for warding off age-related ...

Molecular hitchhiker on human protein signals tumors to self-destruct

July 24, 2017
Powerful molecules can hitch rides on a plentiful human protein and signal tumors to self-destruct, a team of Vanderbilt University engineers found.

Researchers develop new method to generate human antibodies

July 24, 2017
An international team of scientists has developed a method to rapidly produce specific human antibodies in the laboratory. The technique, which will be described in a paper to be published July 24 in The Journal of Experimental ...

New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy

July 24, 2017
A new way of producing the seasonal flu vaccine could speed up the process and provide better protection against infection.

A sodium surprise: Engineers find unexpected result during cardiac research

July 20, 2017
Irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—can have sudden and often fatal consequences. A biomedical engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis examining molecular behavior in cardiac tissue recently made a surprising ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.