Purified human leukocyte elastase was injected into the tracheas of 46 hamsters. Thirteen animals died spontaneously within 1 week, with extensive lung hemorrhage. The elastin content of the lungs was only slightly less than control values 3 hours after injection. At 2 months, the lungs of the remaining animals showed mild, patchy emphysema and morphometric changes consistent with emphysema. These results contrasted with the effects of a similar elastolytic dose of pancreatic elastase administered to 26 other hamsters in that only one animal died spontaneously, the lung elastin content 3 hours after injection was substantially decreased, and severe emphysema was present 2 months later. Leukocyte elastase appears to be capable of causing emphysema; but unlike pancreatic elastase, leukocyte elastase produces emphysema that is mild, even at a dose sufficient to produce intense lung hemorrhage and a high mortality.