Heparanase pp 647-667 | Cite as

Heparanase in Kidney Disease

  • Johan van der VlagEmail author
  • Baranca Buijsers
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1221)


The primary filtration of blood occurs in the glomerulus in the kidney. Destruction of any of the layers of the glomerular filtration barrier might result in proteinuric disease. The glomerular endothelial cells and especially its covering layer, the glycocalyx, play a pivotal role in development of albuminuria. One of the main sulfated glycosaminoglycans in the glomerular endothelial glycocalyx is heparan sulfate. The endoglycosidase heparanase degrades heparan sulfate, thereby affecting glomerular barrier function, immune reactivity and inflammation. Increased expression of glomerular heparanase correlates with loss of glomerular heparan sulfate in many glomerular diseases. Most importantly, heparanase knockout in mice prevented the development of albuminuria after induction of experimental diabetic nephropathy and experimental glomerulonephritis. Therefore, heparanase could serve as a pharmacological target for glomerular diseases. Several factors that regulate heparanase expression and activity have been identified and compounds aiming to inhibit heparanase activity are currently explored.


Kidney Glomerular filtration barrier Glomerular endothelial cells Podocytes Macrophages Glycocalyx Heparan sulfate Heparanase 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nephrology (480)Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Medical CenterNijmegenThe Netherlands

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