Role of Chitin and chitinase/chitinase-like Proteins in Inflammation, Tissue Remodeling, and Injury

Annu Rev Physiol. 2011;73:479-501. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-012110-142250.

Abstract

The 18 glycosyl hydrolase family of chitinases is an ancient gene family that is widely expressed from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. In mammals, despite the absence of endogenous chitin, a number of chitinases and chitinase-like proteins (C/CLPs) have been identified. However, their roles have only recently begun to be elucidated. Acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase) inhibits chitin-induced innate inflammation; augments chitin-free, allergen-induced Th2 inflammation; and mediates effector functions of IL-13. The CLPs BRP-39/YKL-40 (also termed chitinase 3-like 1) inhibit oxidant-induced lung injury, augments adaptive Th2 immunity, regulates apoptosis, stimulates alternative macrophage activation, and contributes to fibrosis and wound healing. In accord with these findings, levels of YKL-40 in the lung and serum are increased in asthma and other inflammatory and remodeling disorders and often correlate with disease severity. Our understanding of the roles of C/CLPs in inflammation, tissue remodeling, and tissue injury in health and disease is reviewed below.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines
  • Airway Remodeling / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • Atherosclerosis / enzymology
  • Atherosclerosis / immunology
  • Chitin / immunology
  • Chitin / metabolism*
  • Chitinase-3-Like Protein 1
  • Chitinases / immunology
  • Chitinases / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / enzymology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / immunology
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / enzymology
  • Giant Cell Arteritis / immunology
  • Glycoproteins / blood
  • Glycoproteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / enzymology*
  • Lectins / blood
  • Lectins / physiology
  • Lung Diseases / enzymology
  • Lung Diseases / immunology
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology

Substances

  • Adipokines
  • CHI3L1 protein, human
  • Chil1 protein, mouse
  • Chitinase-3-Like Protein 1
  • Glycoproteins
  • Lectins
  • Chitin
  • Chitinases