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J Lab Clin Med. 1996 Jun;127(6):612-20.

Kallistatin, a novel human tissue kallikrein inhibitor: levels in body fluids, blood cells, and tissues in health and disease.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425, USA.


Kallistatin, a human serine proteinase inhibitor, is a newly identified tissue kallikrein inhibitor. It binds strongly to tissue kallikrein but weakly to other serine proteinases such as chymotrypsin and elastase. The tissue distribution and changes in kallistatin levels in human diseases were characterized by using specific monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies against kallistatin. Kallistatin antigen levels in blood cells, fluids, and tissues measured with a specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed displacement curves that were parallel with those in purified kallistatin, indicating their immunologic identity. Expression of kallistatin mRNA in platelets, neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, endothelial cells, hepatocytes, and colon and prostate carcinoma cells was identified by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction followed by Southern blot analysis. Plasma kallistatin concentration was 22.1 +/- 3.5 micrograms/ml in 30 normal subjects and 21.1 +/- 3.8 micrograms/ml in 5 patients with C1 inhibitor deficiency. A significantly reduced kallistatin level (7.2 +/- 2.5 micrograms/ml, p < 0.001) was seen in plasma samples from 9 patients with liver disease and 10 patients with sepsis (7.7 +/- 3.5 micrograms/ml, p < 0 .001). Further, kallistatin levels in 10 women taking oral contraceptives (19.8 +/- 3.8 micrograms/ml) and 21 pregnant women (14.9 +/- 3.3 microg/ml) were significantly lower than those seen in healthy individuals. These data suggest that kallistatin is found in plasma, is produced mostly in the liver, and can be consumed during sepsis. Its consumption in sepsis may indicate a protective role to prevent blood pressure lowering.

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