Inflammation Research

, Volume 45, Issue 7, pp 324–329 | Cite as

The inhibitory effects of antirheumatic drugs on the activity of human leukocyte elastase and cathepsin G

  • J. Steinmeyer
  • D. A. Kalbhen
Original Research Papers


The serine proteinases elastase and cathepsin G from polymorphonuclear granulocytes play a critical role in articular cartilage degradation, not only as proteolytic enzymes able to degrade the extracellular matrix but also by additionally modulating the level of active matrix metalloproteinases, key enzymes of the proteolytic destruction of cartilage during rheumatoid arthritis. The aim of our study was to examine whether antiinflammatory drugs and selected compounds inhibited elastase and cathepsin G, and also to determine whether it is necessary to use a highly purified elastase preparation to screen drugs for their ability to block the activity of this enzyme. Eglin C and the glycosaminoglycan-peptide complex DAK-16, at concentrations ranging from 10−9 to 10−4 M, dose-dependently inhibited elastase and cathepsin G while the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs oxyphenbutazone, phenylbutazone, sulfinpyrazone and diclofenac-Na required high concentrations to demonstrate some inhibitory effects on the activity of both enzymes. None of the other anti-inflammatory drugs tested at a concentration of 10−4 M such as acetylsalicylic acid, dexamethasone,indomethacin, ketoprofen, naproxen, oxaceprol, pirprofen and tiaprofenic acid demonstrated any marked inhibitory activity on either of these proteinases. Only a few drugs, when dosed therapeutically, achieved synovial fluid concentrations sufficient to inhibit the activities of both proteinases. The antirheumatic drugs demonstrated similar inhibition profiles in purified or partially purified elastase preparations. Thus the leukocyte extract containing the partially purified elastase and cathepsin G which can be rapidly and easily prepared at low costs appears to be an efficient mean of screening potentially new therapeutic agents for their ability to inhibit leukocyte elastase and cathepsin G.


Antirheumatic drugs Elastase Cathepsin G Matrix metalloproteinase 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Steinmeyer
    • 1
  • D. A. Kalbhen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Pharmakologie und ToxikologieRheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität BonnBonnGermany

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