2010 Volume 46 Issue 2 Pages 168-176
It is accepted that pulmonary exposure of rodents to porcine pancreatic elastase (ELT) induces lesions that morphologically resemble human emphysema. Nonetheless, extensive analysis of this model has rarely been conducted. The present study was designed to extensively examine the effects of ELT on lung inflammation, cell damage, emphysematous change, and cholinergic reactivity in rats. Intratracheal administration of two doses of ELT induced 1) a proinflammatory response in the lung that was characterized by significant infiltration of macrophages and an increased level of interleukin-1β in lung homogenates, 2) lung cell damage as indicated by higher levels of total protein, lactate dehydrogenase, and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in lung homogenates, 3) emphysema-related morphological changes including airspace enlargement and progressive destruction of alveolar wall structures, and 4) airway responsiveness to methacholine including an augmented Rn value. In addition, ELT at a high dose was more effective than that at a low dose. This is the novel study to extensively analyze ELT-induced lung emphysema, and the analysis might be applied to future investigations that evaluate new therapeutic agents or risk factors for pulmonary emphysema. In particular, ALP in lung homogenates might be a new biomarker for the disease progression/exacerbation.