How is antiprotease dysfunction characterized in alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD)?

Updated: Sep 11, 2020
  • Author: Dora E Izaguirre Anariba, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Alpha1-antiprotease constitutes about 95% of all the antiprotease activity in human alveoli, and neutrophil elastase is considered the protease largely responsible for alveolar destruction. In patients with the Z allele, the alpha1-antitrypsin produced has a lysine substituted for glutamate. This results in spontaneous polymerization within the endoplasmic reticulum of the hepatocyte, which leads to decreased serum levels of alpha1-antitrypsin and thus a deficiency of peripheral alpha1-antitrypsin.

Additionally, the accumulation of intrahepatic alpha1-antitrypsin is thought to result in apoptosis of hepatocytes. This initially can manifest as laboratory abnormalities, but also can progress to hepatitis, followed by fibrosis and cirrhosis. [6]

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