The involvement of heparan sulfate proteoglycans in stem cell differentiation and in malignant glioma
Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, and Science for Life Laboratory, Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, 75185, Uppsala, Sweden
* e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 25 January 2016
Published online: 8 April 2016
Heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans (HSPG) are major components of the extracellular matrix. They interact with a plethora of macromolecules that are of physiological importance. The pattern of sulfation of the HS chain determines the specificity of these interactions. The enzymes that synthesize and degrade HS are thus key regulators of processes ranging from embryonic development to tissue homeostasis and tumor development. Formation of the nervous system is also critically dependent on appropriate HSPGs as shown by several studies on the role of HS in neural induction from embryonic stem cells. High-grade glioma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor among adults, and the prognosis is poor. Neural and glioma stem cells share several traits, including sustained proliferation and highly efficient migration in the brain. There are also similarities between the neurogenic niche where adult neural stem cells reside and the tumorigenic niche, including their interactions with components of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The levels of many of these components, for example HSPGs and enzymes involved in the biosynthesis and modification of HS are attenuated in gliomas. In this paper, HS regulation of pathways involved in neural differentiation and how these may be of importance for brain development are discussed. The literature suggesting that modifications of HS could regulate glioma growth and invasion is reviewed. Targeting the invasiveness of glioma cells by modulating HS may improve upon present therapeutic options, which only marginally enhance the survival of glioma patients.
© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2016