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Heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans on immune cells have the ability to bind to and regulate the bioactivity more than 400 bioactive protein ligands, including many chemokines, cytokines, and growth factors. This makes them important regulators of the phenotype and behavior of immune cells. Here we review how HS biosynthesis in macrophages is regulated during polarization and in chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and obesity, by analyzing published micro-array data and mechanistic studies in this area. We describe that macrophage expression of many HS biosynthesis and core proteins is strongly regulated by macrophage polarization, and that these expression patterns are recapitulated in chronic inflammation. Such changes in HS biosynthetic enzyme expression are likely to have a significant impact on the phenotype of macrophages in chronic inflammatory diseases by altering their interactions with chemokines, cytokines, and growth factors.

Original publication




Journal article


J Histochem Cytochem

Publication Date





9 - 27


heparan sulfate, inflammation, macrophages, proteoglycans, rheumatoid arthritis, Animals, Biosynthetic Pathways, Carbohydrate Epimerases, Chronic Disease, Glucuronidase, Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans, Humans, Inflammation, Inflammation Mediators, Macrophages, N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases, Sulfatases, Sulfotransferases