Heparin, heparan sulfate and heparanase in inflammatory reactions

Thromb Haemost. 2009 Nov;102(5):823-8. doi: 10.1160/TH09-02-0091.


Heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans at the cell surface and in the extracellular matrix of most animal tissues are essential in development and homeostasis, and are implicated in disease processes. Emerging evidence demonstrates the important roles of HS in inflammatory reactions, particularly in the regulation of leukocyte extravasation. Heparin, a classical anticoagulant, exhibits anti-inflammatory effects in animal models and in the clinic, presumably through interference with the functions of HS, as both polysaccharides share a high similarity in molecular structure. Apart of regulation during biosynthesis, the structures of HS and heparin are significantly modulated by heparanase, an endoglycosidase that is upregulated in a number of inflammatory conditions. Exploring the physiological roles of HS and heparin and the mode of heparanase action in modulating their functions during inflammation responses is of importance for future studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyloidosis / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Glucuronidase / chemistry
  • Glucuronidase / genetics
  • Glucuronidase / physiology*
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Heparin / chemistry
  • Heparin / metabolism
  • Heparin / pharmacology
  • Heparin / physiology*
  • Heparin / therapeutic use
  • Heparitin Sulfate / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Heparitin Sulfate / chemistry
  • Heparitin Sulfate / metabolism
  • Heparitin Sulfate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Structure
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / physiology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Heparin
  • Heparitin Sulfate
  • heparanase
  • Glucuronidase