Last reviewed 01/2018
Neutral proteases are a range of enzymes which can break down extracellular components. The group includes collagenase and elastase. Targets include collagen, basement membranes and fibrin. Neutral proteases also act on kininogens to produce a kinin-like peptide. Sites of enzyme storage include neutrophils and macrophages.
Normally, physiological inhibitors of neutral proteases circulate within the plasma. One of the most important is alpha-1-antitrypsin which primarily inhibits neutrophil elastase.
Elastase also exists as a pancreatic exoenzyme.
alpha -1 - antitrypsin deficiency