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Angiotensin II Type I Receptor (AT1R): The Gate towards COVID-19-Associated Diseases

Abstract : The binding of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike glycoprotein to its cellular receptor, the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), causes its downregulation, which subsequently leads to the dysregulation of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) in favor of the ACE–angiotensin II (Ang II)–angiotensin II type I receptor (AT1R) axis. AT1R has a major role in RAS by being involved in several physiological events including blood pressure control and electrolyte balance. Following SARS-CoV-2 infection, pathogenic episodes generated by the vasoconstriction, proinflammatory, profibrotic, and prooxidative consequences of the Ang II–AT1R axis activation are accompanied by a hyperinflammatory state (cytokine storm) and an acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). AT1R, a member of the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family, modulates Ang II deleterious effects through the activation of multiple downstream signaling pathways, among which are MAP kinases (ERK 1/2, JNK, p38MAPK), receptor tyrosine kinases (PDGF, EGFR, insulin receptor), and nonreceptor tyrosine kinases (Src, JAK/STAT, focal adhesion kinase (FAK)), and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase. COVID-19 is well known for generating respiratory symptoms, but because ACE2 is expressed in various body tissues, several extrapulmonary pathologies are also manifested, including neurologic disorders, vasculature and myocardial complications, kidney injury, gastrointestinal symptoms, hepatic injury, hyperglycemia, and dermatologic complications. Therefore, the development of drugs based on RAS blockers, such as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), that inhibit the damaging axis of the RAS cascade may become one of the most promising approaches for the treatment of COVID-19 in the near future. We herein review the general features of AT1R, with a special focus on the receptor-mediated activation of the different downstream signaling pathways leading to specific cellular responses. In addition, we provide the latest insights into the roles of AT1R in COVID-19 outcomes in different systems of the human body, as well as the role of ARBs as tentative pharmacological agents to treat COVID-19.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 23, 2022 - 4:32:00 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 3:25:01 AM

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George El-Arif, Shaymaa Khazaal, Antonella Farhat, Julien Harb, Cédric Annweiler, et al.. Angiotensin II Type I Receptor (AT1R): The Gate towards COVID-19-Associated Diseases. Molecules, MDPI, 2022, 27 (7), pp.2048. ⟨10.3390/molecules27072048⟩. ⟨hal-03617732⟩

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