Alfa 1 Antitrysin and Protease Levels in Puerto Rican Asthmatics: a Pilot Study

Federico Montealegre, Alexis Delgado, Alia Toro, Wanda Vargas, Domingo Chardón, Manuel Bayona, Edward Campbell


A cross-sectional pilot study was conducted on a population of 119 asthmatics who had been recruited from the Emergency Room Department of a major hospital in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The purpose of the study was to determine the frequency of the MM, MS, and SS a-1-antiprotease variants. Also, we analyzed the serum levels of the a-1-antiprotease inhibitor, quantified the levels of serine proteases in homes of the asthmatic volunteers, and determined whether environmental levels of proteases, regardless of their sources, had any association with either asthma symptoms or a-1- antiprotease inhibitor phenotypes. Our results do not support the role of the a-1-antiprotease as a risk factor for asthma in the study population as previously reported. Patients who had visited the ED due to asthma on 3 or more occasions had significantly higher trypsin levels than those who had done so 2 or fewer times. Of those asthmatic patients who had daily symptoms, 40% had been exposed to high levels of elastase, and 33.3% to trypsin. Similarly, 52.9% of the patients with 2 or more hospitalizations a year had been exposed to high elastase levels, and 40.5% of asthma patients who had nocturnal asthma more than 3 times a week had been exposed to high levels of elastase.

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