1. An elastase-like enzyme in plasma of patients with acute pancreatitis was purified by DEAE-cellulose column chromatography and polyacrylamide-gel disc electrophoresis.

2. In this way 0.24 mg of purified enzyme with a specific activity of 3.94 succinyl-l-alanyl-l-alanyl-l-alanyl-p-nitroanilide units/mg of protein was obtained from 10 ml of plasma.

3. The purified material was homogeneous as ascertained by sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide-gel disc electrophoresis and had an apparent molecular weight of 24 000 as measured by gel filtration on Sephadex G-100.

4. This enzyme hydrolysed denatured casein and Congo Red—elastin as well as succinyl-l-alanyl-l-alanyl-l-alanyl-p-nitroanilide. Its amidolytic activity was inhibited by soya bean trypsin inhibitor, but not by aprotinin.

6. We propose that an elastase-like enzyme, probably different from elastase 1 or elastase 2, is liberated from the pancreas into blood during acute pancreatitis and becomes combined with α2-macroglobulin.

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