Published: 20 April 2020
Author(s): Paolo Verdecchia, Claudio Cavallini, Antonio Spanevello, Fabio Angeli
Issue: April 2020
Section: Review Article

Angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) receptors mediate the entry into the cell of three strains of coronavirus: SARS-CoV, NL63 and SARS-CoV-2. ACE2 receptors are ubiquitous and widely expressed in the heart, vessels, gut, lung (particularly in type 2 pneumocytes and macrophages), kidney, testis and brain. ACE2 is mostly bound to cell membranes and only scarcely present in the circulation in a soluble form. An important salutary function of membrane-bound and soluble ACE2 is the degradation of angiotensin II to angiotensin1-7.

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