Increased ACE2 Expression in the Bronchial Epithelium of COPD Patients who are Overweight
Mortality from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) is increased in COPD patients. Furthermore, higher body mass index (BMI) is related to severe disease. SARS‐CoV‐2 utilises angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to gain cellular entry.
We have investigated whether ACE2 bronchial epithelial expression is increased in COPD patients who are overweight compared to those who are not by RNA sequencing.
We observed increased ACE2 expression in COPD patients who are overweight (mean BMI 29 kg/m2) compared to those notoverweight (mean BMI 21 kg/m2) (p=0.004).
Increased ACE2 expression may cause increased SARS‐CoV‐2 infection of the respiratory tract. COPD patients who are overweight may be at greater risk of developing severe COVID‐19.