Table of Contents
ISRN Cell Biology
Volume 2012, Article ID 973983, 8 pages
Research Article

Glycosaminoglycans Modify Elastase Action In Vitro and Enhance Elastase-Induced Cell Death in Cultured Fibroblasts

1Departamento de Bioquímica, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, 04044-020 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades, Universidade de São Paulo, 03828-000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Centro de Estúdio de Proteínas, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de la Habana, Calle 25 No. 455 Vedado, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba

Received 9 August 2011; Accepted 8 September 2011

Academic Editors: C.-Y. Lin and R. Poon

Copyright © 2012 José de Oliveira-Santos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Human neutrophil elastase (HNE) has been shown to be involved on death of different cell types, including epithelial lung cells, which is related to several pulmonary diseases. Since HNE activity may be influenced by extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules such as glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), and fibroblasts are the most common ECM-producing cells of lung connective tissue, the aim of this work was to verify if HNE can induce fibroblast death and to study the enzyme modulation by GAGs. HNE-like activity was mimicked by using human neutrophils conditioned medium (NCM). Heparan sulfate and chondroitin 6-sulfate reduce the enzyme activity and modify its secondary structure. NCM reduced cell viability, and this effect was higher in the presence of those GAGs. NCM also increased DNA fragmentation, suggesting the occurrence of apoptosis, but without influence of GAGs. These results can contribute to the understanding of HNE modulation in physio- and pathological processes where this enzyme is involved.