The role of heparan sulphate in inflammation

Nat Rev Immunol. 2006 Sep;6(9):633-43. doi: 10.1038/nri1918. Epub 2006 Aug 18.


The polysaccharide heparan sulphate is ubiquitously expressed as a proteoglycan in extracellular matrices and on cell surfaces. Heparan sulphate has marked sequence diversity that allows it to specifically interact with many proteins. This Review focuses on the multiple roles of heparan sulphate in inflammatory responses and, in particular, on its participation in almost every stage of leukocyte transmigration through the blood-vessel wall. Heparan sulphate is involved in the initial adhesion of leukocytes to the inflamed endothelium, the subsequent chemokine-mediated transmigration through the vessel wall and the establishment of both acute and chronic inflammatory reactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / blood supply
  • Basement Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Chemokines / immunology
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Heparitin Sulfate / immunology*
  • Heparitin Sulfate / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation / therapy
  • Proteoglycans / immunology
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism


  • Chemokines
  • Proteoglycans
  • Heparitin Sulfate