Just a few years ago this title could not have been used for a seminar because elastin was considered to be a static component of the organism with no detectable turnover. The presence in several cells and tissues of elastolytic proteases, besides the one first discovered in the pancreas by Banga and Balo in the early fifties, is now well established. The recent discovery of the cellular elastases rendered possible the biochemical study of old time morphological observations concerning the progressive lysis of elastic fibers in those tissues which contain them, especially the aorta. Blood platelets, macrophages, leucocytes, the aorta itself were shown to contain elastolytic proteases with distinct properties. Such enzymes have recently been found in pathological tissues also, such as human breast cancer. Dr. Hornebeck will speak about these enzymes in a few minutes. All these proteases have the common property of attacking fibrous, polymeric elastin as well as “natural” (α or κ elastin) and synthetic peptide or ester substrates considered as specific for pancreatic elastase.
KeywordsHuman Breast Cancer Elastic Fiber Blood Platelet Pathological Tissue Elastic Tissue
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