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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 3 (1994), Issue 1, Pages 11-16
Research paper

Mechanism for the Increased Permeability in Endothelial Monolayers Induced by Elastase

Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Jichi Medical School, Tochigi, Minamikawachi 329-04, Japan

Received 14 July 1993; Accepted 21 October 1993

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism for the increase in endothelial permeability induced by human neutrophil elastase (HNE). Pretreatment of bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells (BPAEC) with HNE(0-30 μg/ml) for 1 h produced a concentration dependent increase in 125I-albumin clearance. The effect was reversible and was not due to cytolysis. Pretreatment of BPAEC with sodium tungstate, which depletes xanthine oxidase, or with oxypurinol, did not prevent HNE induced increased permeability. Heparin, which neutralizes the cationic charge of HNE, also had no protective effect. Pretreatment with heat inactivated HNE, which still had positive charge sites, did not result in increased endothelial permeability. Also, ONO-5046, a novel specific inhibitor of HNE, did prevent increased permeability. These results suggest that elastase increases endothelial permeability mainly through its proteolytic effects.