1. Antileucoprotease, being sensitive to oxidative inactivation, can be produced by recombinant techniques. Via site-directed mutagenesis, two mutants of recombinant antileucoprotease were produced in which one or more of the oxidation-sensitive methionine residues were replaced by leucine: in rALP242, methionine-73 was replaced by leucine, and in rALP231, leucine was substituted for four methionine residues. In vitro, native antileucoprotease and the recombinant antileucoprotease preparations have similar inhibitory characteristics towards human neutrophil elastase. We hypothesized that replacement of methionine residues in the antileucoprotease molecule would result in a reduced oxidation sensitivity of the mutants.

2. After incubation of recombinant antileucoprotease and its mutants with increasing dosages of cis-platinum(II)diammine dichloride, we observed that native antileucoprotease and recombinant antileucoprotease were inactivated by this reagent to the same extent. Compared with this, rALP242 was less inactivated, whereas the inhibitory capacity of rALP231 was not influenced by cis-platinum(II)diammine dichloride at all.

3. After incubation of recombinant antileucoprotease, rALP242 and rALP231 with triggered polymorphonuclear leucocytes, which are thought to produce an excess of oxidants, we measured residual inhibitory activities towards human neutrophil elastase of 10%, 55% and 87%, respectively.

4. In vivo, the inhibitory effects of intratracheally administered rALP242 and rALP231 towards human-neutrophil-elastase-induced emphysema were significantly greater than that of recombinant antileucoprotease. There were no significant differences between the mutants. With respect to secretory cell metaplasia and haemorrhage, rALP231 tended to be a better inhibitor than recombinant antileucoprotease and rALP242.

5. We conclude that the recombinant antileucoprotease mutants are less sensitive to oxidation and consequently inhibit human-neutrophil-elastase-induced emphysema to a greater extent than recombinant antileucoprotease.

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