Human neutrophil elastase is thought to play an important role in connective tissue destruction in diseases such as emphysema and arthritis. In this article, it is demonstrated that the elastase activity of mature human peripheral blood neutrophils can be rapidly increased in vitro by treatment of the cells with lipopolysaccharide from E. coli and that this increase is inhibited by corticosteroid pretreatment of the cells and by inhibitors of protein synthesis. Alterations in intracellular enzyme content of the mature polymorph in response to bacterial products or other stimuli may be important for amplification of the inflammatory response.

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