The protease-antiprotease balance within the human lung: implications for the pathogenesis of emphysema

Lung. 1990;168 Suppl:552-64. doi: 10.1007/BF02718178.


Critical elements of the mechanisms of emphysema remain to be clarified. However, taken together, the existing evidence supports the concept that alveolar matrix destruction ensues as the regulatory interplay between oxidant and protease expression is subverted. The final common pathway of matrix destruction links the inherited and acquired forms of emphysema through the ultimate expression of unimpeded neutrophil elastase.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lung / enzymology*
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Protease Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / enzymology*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin
  • Peptide Hydrolases