Versatile role of heparanase in inflammation

Rachel Goldberg, Amichay Meirovitz, Nir Hirshoren, Raanan Bulvik, Adi Binder, Ariel M. Rubinstein, Michael Elkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Heparanase is the only known mammalian endoglycosidase capable of degrading heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan, both in extracellular space and within the cells. It is tightly implicated in cancer progression and over the past few decades significant progress has been made in elucidating the multiple functions of heparanase in malignant tumor development, neovascularization and aggressive behavior. Notably, current data show that in addition to its well characterized role in cancer, heparanase activity may represent an important determinant in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory disorders, such as inflammatory lung injury, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic colitis. Nevertheless, the precise mode of heparanase action in inflammatory reactions remains largely unclear and recent observations suggest that heparanase can either facilitate or limit inflammatory responses, when tissue/cell-specific contextual cues may dictate an outcome of heparanase action in inflammation. In this review the involvement of heparanase in modulation of inflammatory reactions is discussed through a few illustrative examples, including neuroinflammation, sepsis-associated lung injury and inflammatory bowel disease. We also discuss possible action of the enzyme in coupling inflammation and tumorigenesis in the setting of inflammation-triggered cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-240
Number of pages7
JournalMatrix Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 24 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Heparan sulfate
  • Heparanase
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophages
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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