N-Glycosylation and Inflammation; the Not-So-Sweet Relation

Front Immunol. 2022 Jun 27:13:893365. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2022.893365. eCollection 2022.


Chronic inflammation is the main feature of many long-term inflammatory diseases such as autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders, and cancer. There is a growing number of studies in which alterations of N-glycosylation have been observed in many pathophysiological conditions, yet studies of the underlying mechanisms that precede N-glycome changes are still sparse. Proinflammatory cytokines have been shown to alter the substrate synthesis pathways as well as the expression of glycosyltransferases required for the biosynthesis of N-glycans. The resulting N-glycosylation changes can further contribute to disease pathogenesis through modulation of various aspects of immune cell processes, including those relevant to pathogen recognition and fine-tuning the inflammatory response. This review summarizes our current knowledge of inflammation-induced N-glycosylation changes, with a particular focus on specific subsets of immune cells of innate and adaptive immunity and how these changes affect their effector functions, cell interactions, and signal transduction.

Keywords: N-glycans; N-glycosylation; cytokines; immunity; immunoglobulins; inflammation; leukocytes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity*
  • Glycosylation
  • Glycosyltransferases
  • Humans
  • Inflammation*
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism


  • Polysaccharides
  • Glycosyltransferases