We have found activity of dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP) III, one of the most important enkephalin-degrading enzymes in the central nervous system, in human neutrophils. HPLC analysis of the peptide fragments produced by treatment of leucine-enkephalin with isolated neutrophils in the presence of inhibitors of other enkephalin-degrading enzymes revealed that the enzyme in human neutrophils cleaved dipeptides from the NH(2) terminus of leucine-enkephalin, suggesting the presence of DPPIII activity in human neutrophils. Using a specific synthesized substrate and proteinase inhibitors, it was found that the neutrophils have 19.2 +/- 3.6 microM/h/5 x 10(6) cells of beta-naphthylamine for the enzyme. It was also confirmed that spinorphin and tynorphin, both reported to inhibit the activities of enkephalin-degrading enzymes, had potent inhibitory activities (IC(50): 4.0 and 0.029 microg/ml, respectively) against the enzyme. The presence of DPPIII activity in human neutrophils suggests that the biologically active peptides which are associated with enkephalin play a physiological role in regulating enkephalin or inflammatory mechanisms in peripheral tissues.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.