BACKGROUNDThe formation of angiotensin-(1-7) from either angiotensin (Ang) I or Ang II in failing human hearts is not well understood.METHODS AND RESULTSAngiotensinase activity in left and right ventricular membranes from 14 idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC), 8 primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), and 13 nonfailing human hearts was measured with either 125I-Ang I or 125I-Ang II as substrate. Ang-(1-7)-forming activity from 125I-Ang I was inhibited by thiorphan. With 125I-Ang II as substrate, Ang-(1-7) formation was inhibited by the ACE2-specific inhibitor C16. Western blotting with an anti-ACE2 antibody confirmed the presence of ACE2. Angiotensinase activity with 125I-Ang I as substrate was increased in failing IDC left ventricles (LVs) compared with nonfailing LVs (P<0.001). Ang-(1-7)-forming activity with 125I-Ang II as substrate was increased in both failing LVs and right ventricles (RVs) of IDC hearts and only in failing RVs of PPH hearts (PPH LV, 51.12+/-5.25; PPH RV, 89.97+/-11.21; IDC LV, 139.7+/-21.96; and IDC RV, 192.7+/-5.43; NF LV, 32.89+/-5.38; NF RV 40.49+/-10.66 fmol/min per milligram (P<0.05 PPH RV versus PPH LV; P<0.05 PPH RV versus NF RV; P<0.001 IDC LV versus NF LV; P<0.001 IDC RV versus NF RV).CONCLUSIONSAng-(1-7)-forming activity from both Ang I and Ang II was increased in failing human heart ventricles but was mediated by at least two different angiotensinases. The first, which demonstrated substrate preference for Ang I, was neutral endopeptidase (NEP)-like. The second was ACE2, as demonstrated by Western blotting and inhibition of activity with C16.