Human neutrophil elastase from normal donors has been purified using an isolation procedure which included sequential sodium chloride extraction, Aprotinin-Sepharose affinity chromatography, CM-cellulose ion-exchange chromatography, and AcA44 gel filtration chromatography. The inclusion of this last purification step was crucial for separating inactive lower molecular weight species from the active forms of neutrophil elastase and resulted in a higher specific activity of the final preparation. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gradient gel electrophoresis of the reduced purified protein demonstrated three polypeptides of Mr 31,000, 28,000, and 27,500. Four polypeptides were resolved on acid gel electrophoresis; each of the four possessed amidolytic activity. Furthermore, peptide analysis of Staphylococcus aureus V8 protease digests indicated that these polypeptides are structurally related to aach other and represent microheterogeneity of the purified protein. The apparent isoelectric points of these four forms as determined by two-dimensional electrophoresis range from 6.1 to 6.7. By utilizing microsequencing techniques, the first 40 residues of neutrophil elastase have been determined and compared with the reported sequence of elastase isolated from leukemic myeloid cells. In addition, a high degree of homology was found within the amino-terminal regions of neutrophil elastase and the serine proteinases porcine elastase, bovine chymotrypsin, human factor D, and the β chain of plasmin. © 1985.