Elastases are unique among the proteases in that they are capable of hydrolyzing the scleroprotein elastin.Elastases are proteinases capable of solubilizing fibrous elastin. They may belong to the class of serine proteinases, cysteine proteinases and metalloproteinases. Mammalian elastases occur mainly in the pancreas and the phagocytes.  The enzymes include pancreatic elastases 1 (Protease E) and 2, and neutrophil elastase. These three elastases also have esterase and amidase activity toward synthetic substrates such as succinyl-trialanine-p-nitroanilide. Although the three enzymes are similar to each other in enzyme activity, they are quite different in immunoactivity. Neutrophil elastase (NE) is one of the physiologic proteolytic enzymes (serine proteases) that are required for neutrophil function and are involved in the inflammatory response to tissue injury such as sepsis or arthritis. NE is a destructive elastase that attacks the extracellular matrix and modulates inflammation and tissue remodeling.


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