Glycobiology of rheumatic diseases

Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2023 Jan;19(1):28-43. doi: 10.1038/s41584-022-00867-4. Epub 2022 Nov 23.


Glycosylation has a profound influence on protein activity and cell biology through a variety of mechanisms, such as protein stability, receptor interactions and signal transduction. In many rheumatic diseases, a shift in protein glycosylation occurs, and is associated with inflammatory processes and disease progression. For example, the Fc-glycan composition on (auto)antibodies is associated with disease activity, and the presence of additional glycans in the antigen-binding domains of some autoreactive B cell receptors can affect B cell activation. In addition, changes in synovial fibroblast cell-surface glycosylation can alter the synovial microenvironment and are associated with an altered inflammatory state and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis. The development of our understanding of the role of glycosylation of plasma proteins (particularly (auto)antibodies), cells and tissues in rheumatic pathological conditions suggests that glycosylation-based interventions could be used in the treatment of these diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid*
  • Glycomics
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Rheumatic Diseases*