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Chappell, Daniel; Jacob, Matthias; Rehm, Markus; Stoeckelhuber, Mechthild; Welsch, Ulrich; Conzen, Peter; Becker, Bernhard F. (2008): Heparinase selectively sheds heparan sulphate from the endothelial glycocalyx. In: Biological Chemistry, Vol. 389, No. 1: pp. 79-82




A healthy vascular endothelium is coated by the endothelial glycocalyx. Its main constituents are transmembrane syndecans and bound heparan sulphates. This structure maintains the physiological endothelial permeability barrier and prevents leukocyte and platelet adhesion, thereby mitigating inflammation and tissue oedema. Heparinase, a bacteria] analogue to heparanase, is known to attack the glycocalyx. However, the exact extent and specificity of degradation is unresolved. We show by electron microscopy, immunohistological staining and quantitative measurements of the constituent parts, that heparinase selectively sheds heparan sulphate from the glycocalyx, but not the synclecans.