Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.
10 posts • Page 1 of 1
Trypsin is an enzime found in your small intestine. It is produced by the pancreas and it's purpose is in the digestion of proteins. I guess Alpha Anti-trypsin would be something that counteract it. This is just what i think. I have never heard of it
"As a biologist, I firmly believe that when you're dead, you're dead. Except for what you live behind in history. That's the only afterlife" - J. Craig Venter
If the person who asked about this nearly a year ago is still reading posts and needing information about it, please write again. I will glad to tell you what alpha-1 antitrypsin is and what the results of a deficiency are.
New member Nancy Cropper
Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a protein which is mostly made in the liver. Its function is to protect the lungs. When the lungs are threatened by infection (such as a chest cold) a substance called neutrophil elastase helps them heal. As with many substances in the body, however, when it has done its job it needs an inhibitor to stop it from doing too much. That is what A1AT (as it is abbreviated) does.
An alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a genetic condition. The normal gene which makes the protein correctly is referred to as M. The most common variants are called Z and S, though there are others which are very rare. A person who has an MZ or MS makeup is considered a carrier. Someone who inherits, for example, a ZZ genetic makeup is at risk for either lung or liver disease. About 80% of ZZ alphas who have any symptoms at all will develop emphysema. About 20% will develop liver disease. The liver disease occurs because the mutant molecule is folded and cannot get out of the liver, eventually resulting in cirrhosis. While babies are occasionally born with liver damage due to this condition, often liver damage does not become apparent until later in life, if at all. (Why the liver may be able to get rid of the folded molecules for years and then cannot is not yet understood.)
There are various treatments for the lung condition (all involving infusion of very expensive medications.) Ultimately the only cure for the cirrhosis is a liver transplant. My husband received one in 2002 for this condition.
"Alphas," as patients are often called, are sometimes suspected of being alcoholics when they develop liver disease. They may not be tested for the deficiency (a simple blood test) if their doctors are not acquainted with the possibility. It is now suggested that all COPD patients be tested for the deficiency also.
There is a lot of information available on the internet. The person who asked the original question may not have found it because I think he left out the 1 and asked only about alpha antitrypsin.
I am not a biologist, but would be glad to answer any other questions anyone may have. I administer an email support group for liver-affected alphas and their families.
Re what Mr. Mystery said:
The name "alpha-1 antitrypsin" is actually a misnomer and causes a lot of confusion. If I understand it correctly, when it was first discovered in 1963 it was thought that it inhibited trypsin, hence the name. It was later learned that trypsin is inhibited by a pancreatic trypsin inhibitor, and A1AT inhibits neutrophil elastase. (Few of the people who actually have the deficiency really understand this.)
Good to know... I said in my post that i did not know and that is was simply an opinion. Like Dr.Stein said, i learned something new today
It's always good to learn something new! This is one of those medical things that you have probably never heard of unless you have a connection to it. My husband's ZZ genetic makeup was discovered by a local researcher who was doing a study on donor blood to find asymptomatic alphas about 15 years ago. He was part of a lung study for five years but had no lung involvement. Finally, in late 2000, he got a physical for a new life insurance policy but was denied because his liver enzymes were up. From there he was headed for transplant. We are very lucky to live in Salt Lake City, where the wait for a liver transplant is half what it is in most places. He is now very healthy and takes just one medication for antirejection.
For Richard Clarke--Do you have an A1AT deficiency, or know someone who does? I can direct you to sites where you can get a lot more information than I have given you if you need it.
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