Heparin a key role player in allergy and inflammatory reactions

February 25, 2011, Karolinska Institutet

Heparin plays a key role in allergic and inflammatory reactions driven by mast cells, scientists from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows in an international collaboration involving colleagues from Germany and Switzerland. The study is published in the recent issue of Immunity, and sheds some new light on the biological function of heparin.

Heparin has a long history at Karolinska Institutet, since here the substance was originally purified and its was characterized back in 1935 by Professor Erik Jorpes. Knowing about the therapeutic implications Jorpes was one of the pioneers treating patients that suffered from thrombosis with heparin infusions. Today, heparin is still one of the most commonly used anticoagulant drugs.

Professor Jorpes showed that heparin is produced in a specific blood-born , called mast cells. have a central function in allergic and and contribute to increased vascular permeability, allergic and anaphylactic reactions. The current study identifies the underlying mechanism and its therapeutical implications.

The authors show that heparin initiates the production of a hormone - bradykinin - that contributes to swelling, anaphylactic and inflammatory symptoms, which are commonly known to be associated with aberrant mast cell activity. Notably, mast cell-released generates the inflammatory mediator bradykinin via activation of factor XII (the so-called Hageman Factor) that belongs to the blood coagulation system.

The study thus provides an unexpected link between the clotting cascade and mast cell-driven pro-inflammatory reactions. Drugs that block bradykinin or factor XII activity protect from adverse mast cell-driven effects in patients and genetically engineered mouse models and could be a new strategy to treat allergic diseases.

More information: Chris Oschatz, Coen Maas, Bernd Lecher, Thomas Jansen, Jenny Björkqvist, Thomas Tradler, Reinhard Sedlmeier, Peter Burfeind, Sven Cichon, Sven Hammerschmidt, Werner Müller-Esterl, Walter A. Wuillemin, Gunnar Nilsson & Thomas Renné, Mast cells increase vascular permeability by heparin-initiated bradykinin formation in vivo, Immunity, February 25, 2011, Volume 34, Issue 2. www.cell.com/immunity

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Anemia discovery offers new targets to treat fatigue in millions

January 22, 2018
A new discovery from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has revealed an unknown clockwork mechanism within the body that controls the creation of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. The finding sheds light on iron-restricted ...

More surprises about blood development—and a possible lead for making lymphocytes

January 22, 2018
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) have long been regarded as the granddaddy of all blood cells. After we are born, these multipotent cells give rise to all our cell lineages: lymphoid, myeloid and erythroid cells. Hematologists ...

How metal scaffolds enhance the bone healing process

January 22, 2018
A new study shows how mechanically optimized constructs known as titanium-mesh scaffolds can optimize bone regeneration. The induction of bone regeneration is of importance when treating large bone defects. As demonstrated ...

Researchers illustrate how muscle growth inhibitor is activated, could aid in treating ALS

January 19, 2018
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine are part of an international team that has identified how the inactive or latent form of GDF8, a signaling protein also known as myostatin responsible for ...

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

January 18, 2018
T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, ...

Weight flux alters molecular profile, study finds

January 17, 2018
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.