Comparison of alpha-1-antitrypsin levels and antineutrophil elastase capacity of blood and lung in a patient with the alpha-1-antitrypsin phenotype null-null before and during alpha-1-antitrypsin augmentation therapy.
The null-null phenotype of alpha 1-antitrypsin (alpha 1AT), a phenotype characterized by no detectable alpha 1AT in serum, presents a rare opportunity to examine the contribution of alpha 1AT to the antineutrophil elastase protection of the lower respiratory tract. The subject, a 35-yr-old lifetime non-smoker with moderate emphysema, has been characterized as having alpha 1AT serum levels of zero resulting from the homozygous inheritance of alpha 1AT genes that do not express detectable alpha 1AT mRNA transcripts. Evaluation of the antineutrophil elastase capacity of the null-null serum showed it was less than 5% of normal, whereas that of the epithelial lining fluid (ELF) of the lower respiratory tract was 13% of normal. However, after 60 mg/kg of intravenously administered alpha 1AT augmentation therapy once weekly for 4 wk, the serum alpha 1AT levels peaked at greater than 300 mg/dl, trough levels just prior to the next infusion were 81 +/- 2 mg/dl, and the average serum level integrated for the month of infusions was 138 mg/dl. Consistent with this serum rise in alpha 1AT, the serum antineutrophil elastase capacity increased in parallel(r = 0.98). Importantly, evaluation of the ELF 2 and 6 days after infusion demonstrated increases of alpha 1AT levels (range, 1.4 to 2.1 microM) and antineutrophil elastase capacity (range, 1.6 to 2.5 microM), values within the lower range of normal. Furthermore, the lung ELF alpha 1AT levels rose in direct proportion to the serum alpha 1AT levels, and the ELF antineutrophil elastase capacity rose in direct proportion to the ELF alpha 1AT levels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)