The effect of lathyrogens on the evolution of elastase-induced emphysema

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1980 Sep;122(3):453-60. doi: 10.1164/arrd.1980.122.3.453.


When pancreastic elastase is introduced into the lungs of hamsters to produce emphysema, there is an initial rapid destruction of elastin followed by a subsequent resynthesis. In order to investigate its pathologic significance, we attempted to interfere with this resynthesis by feeding inhibitors of elastin cross-linking. The feeding of the lathyrogens beta-aminoproprionitrile (beta APN) or penicillamine resulted in a marked worsening of the elastase-induced emphysema, as measured by the average distance between alveolar walls and the internal alveolar surface area, when compared with the effect of elastase in animals fed a normal diet. The lathyrogens produced no effect on lung morphology without elastase injections. In elastase-injected animals, the principlal biochemical effect of beta APN was a decrease in the aldehyde content of the elastin without a measurable decrease in desmosine cross-links. These results indicated that the formation of normal connective tissue proteins during the replair of elastolytic injury helps to limit the degree of anatomic deformity that is produced.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aminopropionitrile / metabolism
  • Aminopropionitrile / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Cricetinae
  • Desmosine / metabolism
  • Elastin / metabolism
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Mesocricetus
  • Pancreatic Elastase / pharmacology*
  • Penicillamine / metabolism*
  • Protein-Lysine 6-Oxidase / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / chemically induced*
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / metabolism


  • Desmosine
  • Aminopropionitrile
  • Collagen
  • Elastin
  • Protein-Lysine 6-Oxidase
  • Pancreatic Elastase
  • Penicillamine