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Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 Expression Is Detectable in Keratinocytes, Cutaneous Appendages, and Blood Vessels by Multiplex RNA in Situ Hybridization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-223
Number of pages5
JournalAdvances in skin & wound care
Issue number4
Early online date26 Jan 2022
Accepted/In press25 Jun 2021
E-pub ahead of print26 Jan 2022
Published26 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Acknowledgment: The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Wellcome Trust (211276/E/18/Z). The authors have disclosed no other financial relationships related to this article. Publisher Copyright: © Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

King's Authors


OBJECTIVE: The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor mediates uptake of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Previous work analyzing publicly available bulk RNA-sequencing data sets has shown the expression of ACE2 in human keratinocytes. This finding is potentially relevant for the etiology of COVID-19-associated rashes and might also suggest a possible entry mechanism for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In this study, the authors examined the spatial localization of ACE2 mRNA in vivo. METHODS AND RESULTS: The authors analyzed several publicly available single-cell RNA-sequencing data sets. They determined spatial localization of ACE2 mRNA using multiplex RNA in situ hybridization in human skin. CONCLUSIONS: Both analyses supported ACE2 expression in keratinocytes and skin vasculature, which could reflect a potential cutaneous entry point for SARS-CoV-2, particularly in damaged or broken skin. Moreover, ACE2 expression in vascular endothelial cells may support direct, virally mediated mechanisms in the etiology of the chilblain-like acral eruption that is seen in patients with COVID-19.

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