Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)-2 is the primary enzyme of the vasoprotective axis of the renin angiotensin system that regulates the classic renin angiotensin system axis. We aimed to determine whether local retinal overexpression of adenoassociated virus (AAV)-ACE2 prevents or reverses diabetic retinopathy. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-chimeric mice were generated to distinguish resident (retinal) from infiltrating bone marrow-derived inflammatory cells and were made diabetic using streptozotocin injections. Retinal digestion using trypsin was performed and acellular capillaries enumerated. Capillary occlusion by GFP+ cells was used to measure leukostasis. Overexpression of ACE2 prevented (prevention cohort: untreated diabetic, 11.3 ± 1.4; ACE2 diabetic, 6.4 ± 0.9 per mm2) and partially reversed (reversal cohort: untreated diabetic, 15.7 ± 1.9; ACE2 diabetic, 6.5 ± 1.2 per mm2) the diabetes-associated increase of acellular capillaries and the increase of infiltrating inflammatory cells into the retina (F4/80+) (prevention cohort: untreated diabetic, 24.2 ± 6.7; ACE2 diabetic, 2.5 ± 1.6 per mm2; reversal cohort: untreated diabetic, 56.8 ± 5.2; ACE2 diabetic, 5.6 ± 2.3 per mm2). In both study cohorts, intracapillary bone marrow-derived cells, indicative of leukostasis, were only observed in diabetic animals receiving control AAV injections. These results indicate that diabetic retinopathy, and possibly other diabetic microvascular complications, can be prevented and reversed by locally restoring the balance between the classic and vasoprotective renin angiotensin system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine