N-Arylacyl O-sulfonated aminoglycosides as novel inhibitors of human neutrophil elastase, cathepsin G and proteinase 3

Glycobiology. 2016 Jul;26(7):701-709. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cww011. Epub 2016 Feb 5.


The balance between neutrophil serine proteases (NSPs) and protease inhibitors (PIs) in the lung is a critical determinant for a number of chronic inflammatory lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis and acute lung injury. During activation at inflammatory sites, excessive release of NSPs such as human neutrophil elastase (HNE), proteinase 3 (Pr3) and cathepsin G (CatG), leads to destruction of the lung matrix and continued propagation of acute inflammation. Under normal conditions, PIs counteract these effects by inactivating NSPs; however, in chronic inflammatory lung diseases, there are insufficient amounts of PIs to mitigate damage. Therapeutic strategies are needed to modulate excessive NSP activity for the clinical management of chronic inflammatory lung diseases. In the study reported here, a panel of N-arylacyl O-sulfonated aminoglycosides was screened to identify inhibitors of the NSPs. Dose-dependent inhibitors for each individual serine protease were identified. Select compounds were found to inhibit multiple NSPs, including one lead structure that is shown to inhibit all three NSPs. Two lead compounds identified during the screen for each individual NSP were further characterized as partial mixed inhibitors of CatG. Concentration-dependent inhibition of protease-mediated detachment of lung epithelial cells is demonstrated.

Keywords: glycosaminoglycans; heparin mimics; inflammatory lung disease; neutrophil serine proteases; protease inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / metabolism
  • Aminoglycosides / isolation & purification
  • Aminoglycosides / metabolism*
  • Cathepsin G / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cathepsin G / metabolism*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Leukocyte Elastase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Leukocyte Elastase / metabolism*
  • Myeloblastin / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Myeloblastin / metabolism*
  • Proteinase Inhibitory Proteins, Secretory / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / metabolism


  • Aminoglycosides
  • Proteinase Inhibitory Proteins, Secretory
  • Cathepsin G
  • Leukocyte Elastase
  • Myeloblastin