Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors May Moderate COVID-19 Hyperinflammatory Response: An Observational Study with Deep Immunophenotyping.

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Health Data Sci


washington; isb; swedish; renton; covid-19


BACKGROUND: Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) and angiotensin-II receptor blockers (ARB), the most commonly prescribed antihypertensive medications, counter renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) activation via induction of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) expression. Considering that ACE2 is the functional receptor for SARS-CoV-2 entry into host cells, the association of ACEi and ARB with COVID-19 outcomes needs thorough evaluation.

METHODS: We conducted retrospective analyses using both unmatched and propensity score (PS)-matched cohorts on electronic health records (EHRs) to assess the impact of RAAS inhibitors on the risk of receiving invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) and 30-day mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Additionally, we investigated the immune cell gene expression profiles of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with prior use of antihypertensive treatments from an observational prospective cohort.

RESULTS: The retrospective analysis revealed that there was no increased risk associated with either ACEi or ARB use. In fact, the use of ACEi showed decreased risk for mortality. Survival analyses using PS-matched cohorts suggested no significant relationship between RAAS inhibitors with a hospital stay and in-hospital mortality compared to non-RAAS medications and patients not on antihypertensive medications. From the analysis of gene expression profiles, we observed a noticeable up-regulation in the expression of 1L1R2 (an anti-inflammatory receptor) and RETN (an immunosuppressive marker) genes in monocytes among prior users of ACE inhibitors.

CONCLUSION: Overall, the findings do not support the discontinuation of ACEi or ARB treatment and suggest that ACEi may moderate the COVID-19 hyperinflammatory response.


Infectious Diseases


Institute for Systems Biology