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

Link between cells associated with aging and bone loss

August 21, 2017
Mayo Clinic researchers have reported a causal link between senescent cells - the cells associated with aging and age-related disease - and bone loss in mice. Targeting these cells led to an increase in bone mass and strength. ...

Gut microbes may talk to the brain through cortisol

August 21, 2017
Gut microbes have been in the news a lot lately. Recent studies show they can influence human health, behavior, and certain neurological disorders, such as autism. But just how do they communicate with the brain? Results ...

Are stem cells the link between bacteria and cancer?

August 17, 2017
Gastric carcinoma is one of the most common causes of cancer-related deaths, primarily because most patients present at an advanced stage of the disease. The main cause of this cancer is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, ...

Two-step process leads to cell immortalization and cancer

August 17, 2017
A mutation that helps make cells immortal is critical to the development of a tumor, but new research at the University of California, Berkeley suggests that becoming immortal is a more complicated process than originally ...

New Pathology Atlas maps genes in cancer to accelerate progress in personalized medicine

August 17, 2017
A new Pathology Atlas is launched today with an analysis of all human genes in all major cancers showing the consequence of their corresponding protein levels for overall patient survival. The difference in expression patterns ...

Female mouse embryos actively remove male reproductive systems

August 17, 2017
A protein called COUP-TFII determines whether a mouse embryo develops a male reproductive tract, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and their colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. The ...

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.