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From: (Steven B. Harris )
Subject: Re: emphysema and enzymes
Date: 23 Aug 1995

In <41eejj$> Julie Trotter <>

>Does anyone know what the connection is between emphysema and enzymes?
>The Mayo Clinic just told my uncle that his emphysema was caused by not
>only his smoking [which he long ago stopped], but also something about

He probably has a deficiency of alpha-1-antitrypsin, an enzyme which
blocks a dignestive enzyme which destroys lung collagen and elastic
fiber.  Without this, there is no elastic fiber to hold airways open
while you exhale, and the lungs cannot expell air.  Emphysema is what
we call that problem.  Smoking does make it worse, of course (it makes
all lung diseases worse!)

The disease is a genetic inherited problem, but a recessive one.  Gene
therapy for it is a real possiblity in the near future.  Meanwhile, I
believe that somebody makes the recombinant enzyme itself, which can be
administered; don't know if it's proved to help much.  This is a very
specialized thing to check with your pulmonary doc about.

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