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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Protease-antiprotease imbalance in the lungs of children with cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis ( CF) is characterized in the lung by chronic purulent bronchitis culminating in pulmonary insufficiency. There is evidence to suggest that neutrophil elastase (NE) released by neutrophils on the respiratory epithelial surface plays a major role in the pathogenesis of this lung disease. This study sought to determine the age of onset of the chronic neutrophil-dominated inflammation in CF and the consequences to the NE-anti-NE screen on the respiratory epithelial surface of the CF lung. NE and anti-NE defensive molecules were evaluated in respiratory epithelial lining fluid (ELF) in 27 children with stable CF (1 to 18 yr of age). Despite normal antigenic concentrations of alpha 1-antitrypsin (alpha 1AT) and secretory leukoprotease inhibitor (SLPI), 25 of 27 children with CF had neutrophil-dominated inflammation (> 500 neutrophils/microliters ELF). Active NE was found in ELF in 20 of 27 children, including two of four aged 1 yr. Western blot analysis showed the majority of alpha 1AT and SLPI molecules to be complexed and/or degraded. These observations demonstrate that a chronic imbalance of the NE-anti-NE protective screen develops early on the respiratory epithelial surface in persons with CF and is likely well established by 1 yr of age, with resultant potential for lung damage.[1]


  1. Protease-antiprotease imbalance in the lungs of children with cystic fibrosis. Birrer, P., McElvaney, N.G., Rüdeberg, A., Sommer, C.W., Liechti-Gallati, S., Kraemer, R., Hubbard, R., Crystal, R.G. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. (1994) [Pubmed]
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