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Protein Expression Of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) Is Upregulated In Brains With Alzheimer’s Disease

Qiyue Ding, Nataliia V. Shults, Sergiy G. Gychka, Brent T. Harris, Yuichiro J. Suzuki

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Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder and represents the main cause of dementia globally. Currently, the world is suffering from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a virus that uses angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as a receptor to enter the host cells. In COVID-19, neurological manifestations have been reported to occur. The present study demonstrates that the protein expression level of ACE2 is upregulated in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The increased ACE2 expression is not age-dependent, suggesting the direct relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and ACE2 expression. Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, and brains with the disease examined in this study also exhibited higher carbonylated proteins, as well as an increased thiol oxidation state of peroxiredoxin 6 (Prx6). A moderate positive correlation was found between the increased ACE2 protein expression and oxidative stress in brains with Alzheimer’s disease. In summary, the present study reveals the relationships between Alzheimer’s disease and ACE2, the receptor for SARS-CoV-2. These results suggest the importance of carefully monitoring patients with both Alzheimer’s disease and COVID-19 in order to identify higher viral loads in the brain and long-term adverse neurological consequences.