1998 Volume 21 Issue 7 Pages 775-777
In order to clarify the degradation of elastin under abnormal conditions, we examined the aortic elastolytic activity in rat experimental diabetes mellitus induced by treatment with streptozotocin and in rat experimental aneurysm induced by treatment with an inhibitor of lysyloxidase (β-aminopropionitrile : BAPN). Measurement of the aortic elastolytic activity used 14C-labeled elastin as the substrate, and the determined value was compared with the aortic lysosomal enzyme (acid phosphatase) activity. In the case of experimental diabetes, the aortic elastolytic activity was not changed, but the aortic acid phosphatase activity was significantly increased compared with the control. In the case of the experimental aneurysm, the aortic elastolytic activity measured after 2 and 3 weeks was increased compared with each control. These was a negative correlation (r=-0.435, n=36) between the elastolytic activity and the cross-linking (desmosine) content in the aorta. The ratio of elastolytic activity to desmosine content was significantly increased compared with the control. Therefore, the degradation of aortic elastin in the experimental aneurysm was caused by elastase, not by lysosomal enzymes. We concluded that an elastase-like enzyme mainly contributed to the degradation of elastin in the experimental aneurysm since the inhibitory pattern of the elastolytic activity in the experimental aneurysm was similar to that of pancreatic elastase.