BACKGROUND:Circulating angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) was identified as a predictor of weight loss maintenance in overweight/obese women of the Diogenes project.OBJECTIVE:To investigate whether ACE acted also as a predictor in men of the Diogenes study and to compare it with that in women.DESIGN:Subjects, who lost >/=8% of body weight induced by low-caloric diet in an 8-week weight loss period, were assigned to weight loss maintenance with dietary intervention for 6 months.SUBJECTS:125 overweight/obese healthy men from eight European countries who completed whole intervention.MEASUREMENTS:Concentrations and activity of serum ACE at baseline and after the 8-week weight loss, in addition to anthropometric and physiological parameters.RESULTS:Serum ACE concentration decreased by 11.3+/-10.6% during the weight loss period in men. A greater reduction is associated with less body weight regain during the maintenance period (r=0.227, P=0.012). ACE change was able to predict a weight regain </=20% after 6 months, with an odds ratio of 1.59 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09-2.33, P=0.016) for every 10% reduction, which was independent of body mass index and weight loss. The prediction power was weaker in men than in women, but without a significant sex difference (P=0.137). In pooled subjects (N=218), the odds ratio was 1.96 (95% CI: 1.46-2.64, P<0.001).CONCLUSIONS:A greater reduction of ACE during weight loss is favorable for weight maintenance in both men and women. This can offer useful information for personalized advice to improve weight loss maintenance. It also confirms the role of ACE in the metabolic pathways of weight regulation.International Journal of Obesity advance online publication, 24 January 2012; doi:10.1038/ijo.2011.278.