A disaccharide that inhibits tumor necrosis factor α is formed from the extracellular matrix by the enzyme heparanase

Ofer Lider, Liora Cahalon, Dalia Gilat, Rami Hershkoviz, Daniel Siegel, Raanan Margalit, Oded Shoseyov, Irun R. Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The activation of T cells by antigens or mitogens leads to the secretion of cytokines and enzymes that shape the inflammatory response. Among these molecular mediators of inflammation is a heparanase enzyme that degrades the heparan sulfate scaffold of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Activated T cells use heparanase to penetrate the ECM and gain access to the tissues. We now report that among the breakdown products of the ECM generated by heparanase is a trisulfated disaccharide that can inhibit delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) in mice. This inhibition of T-cell mediated inflammation in vivo was associated with an inhibitory effect of the disaccharide on the production of biologically active tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) by activated T cells in vitro; the trisulfated disaccharide did not affect T-cell viability or responsiveness generally. Both the in vivo and in vitro effects of the disaccharide manifested a bell-shaped dose-response curve. The inhibitory effects of the trisulfated disaccharide were lost if the sulfate groups were removed. Thus, the disaccharide, which may be a natural product of inflammation, can regulate the functional nature of the response by the T cell to activation. Such a feedback control mechanism could enable the T cell to assess the extent of tissue degradation and adjust its behavior accordingly.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)5037-5041
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - 23 May 1995


  • cytokines
  • delayed-type hypersensitivity
  • extracellular matrix
  • heparan sulfate


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