Alpha-1 Antitrypsin: A Potent Anti-Inflammatory and Potential Novel Therapeutic Agent

  • David A. Bergin
  • Killian Hurley
  • Noel G. McElvaney
  • Emer P. ReevesEmail author


Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) has long been thought of as an important anti-protease in the lung where it is known to decrease the destructive effects of major proteases such as neutrophil elastase. In recent years, the perception of this protein in this simple one dimensional capacity as an anti-protease has evolved and it is now recognised that AAT has significant anti-inflammatory properties affecting a wide range of inflammatory cells, leading to its potential therapeutic use in a number of important diseases. This present review aims to discuss the described anti-inflammatory actions of AAT in modulating key immune cell functions, delineate known signalling pathways and specifically to identify the models of disease in which AAT has been shown to be effective as a therapy.


Alpha-1 antitrypsin Innate immune cells Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency Replacement therapy 



The authors would like to thank the Medical Research Charities Group and the Health Research Board and The US Alpha-1 Foundation, Science Foundation Ireland, grant number 11/RFP/BMT/3094 and the Program for Research in Third Level Institutes administered by the Higher Education Authority for support.


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Copyright information

© L. Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Wroclaw, Poland 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Bergin
    • 1
  • Killian Hurley
    • 1
  • Noel G. McElvaney
    • 1
  • Emer P. Reeves
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Respiratory Research Division, Department of MedicineRoyal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Education and Research Centre, Beaumont HospitalDublin 9Ireland

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